#9 (2016 Top 10 EIC Picks) > Mandatory Provider Review And Pain Clinic Laws Reduce The Amounts Of Opioids Prescribed And Overdose Death Rates
Author: Deborah Dowell, Kun Zhang, Rita K. Noonan, Jason M. Hockenberry
To address the opioid overdose epidemic in the United States, states have implemented policies to reduce inappropriate opioid prescribing. These policies could affect the coincident heroin overdose epidemic by either driving the substitution of heroin for opioids or reducing simultaneous use of both substances. We used IMS Health’s National Prescription Audit and government mortality data to examine the effect of these policies on opioid prescribing and on prescription opioid and heroin overdose death rates in the United States during 2006–13. The analysis revealed that combined implementation of mandated provider review of state-run prescription drug monitoring program data and pain clinic laws reduced opioid amounts prescribed by 8 percent and prescription opioid overdose death rates by 12 percent. We also observed relatively large but statistically insignificant reductions in heroin overdose death rates after implementation of these policies. This combination of policies was effective, but broader approaches to address these coincident epidemics are needed.