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Ohio Sees Another Drop In Opioid Prescriptions

prescription medicine pills spilling out of a bottle

Ohioans are being prescribed fewer opioids.

Even though about 11 Ohioans continue dying from drug overdoses every day, new data from the Ohio Board of Pharmacy say for the fifth year in a row, the number of prescription painkillers dispensed in the state fell in 2017.

The board says opioid prescriptions have now fallen by 28 percent over the last five years.

The pharmacy board’s executive director, Steve Schierholt, credits new rules that limit the number of opioid pills that can be prescribed at one time. He also says doctors are finding success in using a state database that tracks prescriptions.

"And our hope, and what we believe is happening, is when the prescribers have that available to them, they are making different decisions for their patients,” Schierholt says.

A new Ohio Pharmacy Board report shows an 88 percent decrease since 2012 in the number of people who sought out different physicians to get medications. 

The report follows data from the federal Centers for Disease Control that show between June 2016 and June 2017, Ohio had more drug overdose deaths than every state except Florida and Pennsylvania.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.