DOVER, Del. – The number of prescriptions for opioid medications in Delaware, as well as the total quantity of opioids dispensed, have dropped significantly in the 12 months since the Department of State enacted stricter prescribing regulations to help combat the opioid crisis statewide.
Statistics from the Division of Professional Regulation (DPR), which licenses controlled substance prescribers, show 14 percent fewer prescriptions for opioids were written by Delaware practitioners in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the first quarter of 2017. The Division also reports an 18-percent decline in the total quantity of opioids dispensed to patients over the same period.
“The opioid epidemic continues to ravage families across our state and our nation, but numbers like these show that the public policies we have put in place are having a positive impact,” said Gov. John Carney. “Health care practitioners in Delaware are partners in the shared effort to overcome this crisis, and we are seeing the results of changes in prescribing practices that will, without question, save lives across our state.”
The regulations, which took effect April 1, 2017, were designed to help prescribers more closely monitor and control the use of opioids by their patients. Six months after the regulations were implemented, statistics showed a 12-percent drop in opioid prescriptions and an 8-percent drop in the number of Delawareans receiving prescriptions.
“Fewer prescriptions written and fewer pills dispensed mean fewer chances for Delawareans to become addicted to opioids, or for these dangerous drugs to be diverted for illegal use,” said Secretary of State Jeff Bullock. “The regulations we enacted last year to put limits on opioid prescriptions seem to be working. We hope that in the long term these trends will mean a reduction in opioid addiction and deaths.”