By: Shannon Persad
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Opioids Prescribed Down 6.5% in New Jersey
New Jersey’s opioid epidemic is still on the horizon, despite multiple efforts to curb the problem.
There was good news recently, where the opioid overdose deaths decreased by 3% in 2019 for the first time in years.
However, much of opioid addiction begins at prescription drugs. Over the years, New Jersey has seen many prescription opioids. For instance, about 1.5 billion painkillers made it to New Jersey between 2006 to 2012.
At NJCares.gov it is revealed that 3,990,809 opioids were prescribed in 2019, compared to 4,266,645 in 2018—a 6.5% decrease. The downward trend continues to New Jersey’s opioid prescription rate.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “In 2017, New Jersey providers wrote 44.2 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons (Figure 2), compared to the average U.S. rate of 58.7 prescriptions. This is the lowest rate in the state since data became available in 2006.”
New Jersey Prescription Rate Continues to Decline
Why is there a decline in prescription rates in New Jersey?
One main reason is because of the implementation of a prescription monitoring program. The program reduces the likelihood of fraud and overprescribing, holding healthcare providers responsible. NJ’s prescription monitoring program recently received funds to enhance the program due to its success.
There’s some upsides to this, and some downsides. The upside is that fewer people are using prescription opioids, but the downside is they may be turning to more deadly alternatives, such as heroin and fentanyl.
According to the three waves analysis, opioid addiction begins with opioid prescriptions. However, if the prescriptions end or they are drug-seeking, they may turn to heroin, which then may lead to the current wave, synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl.
How to Get Help for an Opioid Addiction
If you or someone you know is suffering from opioid addiction or any other substance abuse, contact ATSI at 1-(855)-498-2121 for a confidential consultation.