There is an opioid crisis in America that has spread throughout the whole country. The effects are different depending on where you live. One of the leading causes of this crisis is the lack of responsibility with prescription opioids.
It has been revealed rural Americans have a twice the chance of being prescribed painkillers when compared to people who live in the city.
Athenahealth is a significant data management firm. They researched this issue from 2014 to 2017. The research was helpful in showing if specific policies were tackling the crisis head-on. While there was some positive news, their conclusions spelled bad news for rural Americans.
It seems that opioid prescriptions have mostly been dropping in America. Overall, the average amount has decreased especially after March 2016. That month was when a new guideline was introduced that aimed to tackle to the opioid crisis.
According to the study, 7.4% of patients were prescribed opioids in the year 2014. Nationally, this number dropped by a whole percent in just two years. In 2016, the rate was at 6.4%.
However, this decrease has did not affect all the places in America equally. People who lived in rural areas had an 87% higher chance to get prescription for painkillers. These numbers are worrying. 2018 has provided another alarming statistic. Only 5% of people in the urban parts of American received the prescription. That is compared to 9% of people who live in the rural areas of America.
The message this research shows is that there is still a lot of work to be done for the crisis. In fact, many policies have a harder or slower time reaching the rural areas. There may need to be a change in policy philosophy when it comes to achieving rural areas.
It has also shown the habits of big prescribing companies. It seems these companies do not follow guidelines as closely in rural areas. They bend a lot more rules.
The results of this research overall have looked good. It is exciting to see opioids prescription drop. Since this is one of the major causes of the crisis, there is a lot of hope that a decrease in prescription can help crack holes in this crisis.
However, when it comes to rural America, this can have opposite effects. Rural areas do not have a lot of treatment facilities. When getting prescription for drugs people are addicted to becomes harder, it is not uncommon for people to turn to illegal drugs. Since they are addicted but cannot get help, they will find what it easier to get. A lot of times drugs that are even more dangerous, like heroin, become the easier drug.
It is important that if policies aim to reduce the number of prescriptions in rural America, they also make treatment for addiction more readily. Cheap rehab centers and treatment programs should be introduced in places rural Americans can go to.