Stories

Opioid prescriptions are declining

Data: IQVIA; Table: Axios Visuals

Opioid prescriptions are down, naloxone prescriptions are up and doctors are increasingly using state prescription drug monitoring programs, according to the American Medical Association's 2019 Opioid Task Force Progress Report.

By the numbers: Queries made to state PDMPs increased by about 650% between 2014 and 2018. That means doctors are checking patients' prescription history before giving them more opioids.

  • Prescriptions for naloxone — the opioid overdose reversal drug — increased by about 340% between 2016 and 2018.

Yes, but: While the medical community has become deeply engaged in combating the epidemic, illegal drugs like heroin and fentanyl have replaced prescription opioids as the main cause of opioid deaths.

Go deeper: Pharma's bad behavior is causing its own problems