Sebastian County opioid prescribing dipped in 2017

CDC statistics show opioid prescriptions are on the decline in county

By Max Bryan
SW Times Record

Though Sebastian County in the latest years for data still has one of the highest painkiller prescribing rates in Arkansas, its prescribing rate in the latest available year for data dipped from the year before.

The county painkiller prescribing rate dipped from 169 painkiller prescriptions per 100 people in 2016 to 153.1 per 100 in 2017. It is its second-largest year-to-year dip in painkiller prescribing since 2006, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Recently, there has been a lot of information shared not only with the medical community, but with the public in general. Everyone understands the danger narcotics can have with more than short-term use,” said Dr. Don Phillips of Mercy Hospital Fort Smith and the Arkansas Medical Board. “That has now been educated to a lot of people throughout the state in many ways.”

Sebastian County in 2016 was near the top of Arkansas for many opioid issues, including prescribing rate and drug overdose deaths. Phillips said a greater awareness of prescribing habits, which he said likely contributed to the dip in prescribing, spread in 2016 and 2017 in Arkansas. READ MORE.

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