Stories

Opioid prescription rates dropping across the country

Opioid prescription rates across the country have been declining since their peak in 2012, according to data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The 2016 national prescription rate was the lowest in a decade at 66.5 per 100 people.

Data: Centers for Disease Control; Map: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Why it matters: The Trump administration recently unveiled its plan to defeat the opioid crisis — including pursuing the death penalty for certain drug dealers. The Justice Department has joined a lawsuit against drugmakers and distributors that sell or sold prescription opioids, and the big spending bill passed by Congress included a $2.8 billion increase for opioid addiction treatment, prevention and research.

By the numbers

  • The heaviest areas of opioid prescription are in still in the Appalachian region. Over time, higher prescription rates have popped up further south.
  • While overall opioid prescriptions have been falling, the opioid death rate has continued to rise.

The 10 states with the highest opioid prescription rates in 2016 all saw decreases from 2015. Rates shown are per 100 people.

  1. Alabama 121.0
  2. Arkansas 114.6
  3. Tennessee 107.5
  4. Mississippi 105.6
  5. Louisiana 98.1
  6. Oklahoma 97.9
  7. Kentucky 97.2
  8. West Virginia 96
  9. South Carolina 89.4
  10. Michigan 84.9