opioid epidemic

Massachusetts currently leads the nation in decreasing opioids prescription, according to a Blue Cross Blue Shield report cited by The Boston Herald.

Blue Cross Blue Shield’s survey illustrated 51 percent fewer opioid prescriptions written in Massachusetts  in 2017 than 2013; specifically, Bay State physicians wrote 193 opioids prescriptions per 1,000 Blue Cross-insured members. The national average is 394 per 1,000 members.

This trend follows a change in prescribing culture, where physicians are more aware of their prescriptions habits, along with opioid prescription limiting legislation.

“There’s no question this is an important win in the process of reducing the initiation of a lot of people into this,” .”said Ken Duckworth, MD, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts’ medical director for behavioral health, told The Boston Herald. “You don’t hear so much about people going to the emergency room and walking away with 100 Vicodin anymore.”

In 2012, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts launched its Prescription Pain Medication Safety Program, reducing opioid prescriptions by 60 million.

“Patients are often coming to us and saying, ‘I want to be on less,'” Saul Weingart, MD, CMO at Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA. “The doctors want to manage opioids responsibly and safely, but there’s also movement on the patient side.”