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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

Go deeper

Aug 19, 2020 - Health

Slower mail could leave patients without prescription drugs they need

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Slowdowns in mail delivery could have serious consequences for the millions of Americans who get prescription drugs — in some cases, lifesaving treatments — through the mail.

Why it matters: Treatments for cancer, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and other complex diseases increasingly are sent in the mail. And the coronavirus pandemic has spurred more people to get their routine prescriptions mailed to their homes, as a safer alternative to visiting a pharmacy.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
55 mins ago - Health

Health care workers hit new breaking point

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The ranks of health care workers are dwindling and stretching what it means to be reaching their "breaking points," particularly at small nonprofit hospitals.

The big picture: Even as Omicron cases have begun to wane in some places, many hospitals are still fielding a crush of patients amid record employee callouts.

Sarah Palin tests positive for COVID, delaying defamation trial

Sarah Palin. Photo: Matthew Staver/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, delaying the start of her defamation trial against the New York Times.

Why it matters: The trial will be closely watched, as it's a rare instance of a major media company defending its editorial practices before an American jury.