The amount of opioids prescribed in the United States decreased each year between 2010 and 2015, according to a Vital Signs report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The amount of opioids prescribed per capita fell from a peak of 782 morphine milligram equivalents in 2010 to 640 MME in 2015, but remains about three times higher than in 1999 and varies widely by county, with some counties prescribing six times as much as others. “This variation highlights the need for health care providers to consider evidence-based guidance when prescribing opioids,” said Deborah Dowell, M.D., chief medical officer for CDC’s Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention. Between 2010 and 2015, MME per capita decreased in half of U.S. counties and increased in 23% of counties.

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