Flickr / e-Magine Art

Painkiller Prescriptions Highly Varied From State To State

The number of painkiller prescriptions issued varies widely from state to state, according to a new CDC report.

By Sebastian Martinez | July 2, 2014

Big inconsistencies in the amount of powerful painkillers prescribed from state to state are worrying officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

In a recent study, the CDC reported, "Health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for painkillers in 2012, enough for every American adult to have a bottle of pills."

The report pointed out doctors in Southern states prescribed more painkillers than other states. Alabama and Tennessee saw the most prescriptions: 143 for every 100 people in the state. 

Health officials are worried because an increase in painkiller prescribing is a key driver of the increase in prescription overdoses.

In fact, NPR reports more people in the U.S. die from prescription drug overdoses each year than in car crashes.

USA Today points out doctors in Hawaii, the state with the fewest prescriptions, wrote 52 for every 100 people — a little more than a third of the states with the highest rates.

So where can the CDC go from here? Officials point to Florida as a possible example to follow. 

The New York Times reports Florida started making legal and regulatory reforms back in 2010 to curb deaths from prescription drug overdose. And the CDC says the reforms worked, as deaths from overdose fell by 23 percent over the following two years. 

The drug that varied the most from state to state was oxymorphone, prescribed 22 times as much in Tennessee as in Minnesota. (Via Flickr / e-Magine Art)

The CDC issued a list of recommendations to reduce irregularities, including monitoring patients who might be abusing prescription drugs and screening patients for mental health problems. 

  TRENDING IN Sci/Health NEWS
A coniferous forest is shown on a mountainside.WATCHLIST
Giorgio Galeotti / CC BY 2.0

Some Trees Might Slow Climate Change Better Than Others

CocktailWATCHLIST
mariobonifacio / CC BY SA 2.0

People Who've Passed The Bar Are More Likely To Drink At The Bar

Various types of fentanyl patches are pictured.WATCHLIST
Alcibiades

Fentanyl Abuse, Overdoses On The Rise In New Hampshire

What Zika is — and what world health agencies are doing about it.WATCHLIST
Newsy / Evan Thomas

What Zika Virus Is — And Isn't

French grocery storeWATCHLIST
christine592 / CC BY ND 2.0

France Now Won't Let Its Grocery Stores Throw Away Unsold Food

LONDON - MARCH 05: A woman sits in her pod-bed dorm room at Piccadilly Backpackers on March 5, 2006 in London, England.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Scott Barbour

More Couples Aren't Sleeping Together, But Lost Love Isn't Always Why

Image of Johnny Cash and the tarantula species named after him.WATCHLIST
Joel Baldwin / Chris Hamilton et al.

There's A Tarantula Species Named After Johnny Cash

A scientist examines mosquitos.WATCHLIST
WFTX

Gulf Coast States React To Growing Cases Of Zika Virus

Medicine bottles charting the decline in new antibioticsWATCHLIST
Newsy / Andrew Lawler

Why Are There So Few New Antibiotics?

"El Jefe" is thought to be the only jaguar in the wild in the U.S.WATCHLIST
Conservation CATalyst and Center for Biological Diversity

The Only Known Wild Jaguar In The US Caught On Camera In Rare Video

Women walk their babies in the park.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Sean Gallup

Here's What People Are Saying About That New CDC Guideline

BearsWATCHLIST
Megan Coughlin / CC BY ND 2.0

New Deal Protects 85 Percent Of Canada's Massive Great Bear Rainforest

National Weather Service storm forecast.WATCHLIST
National Weather Service

Tornadoes Reported In Mississippi And Alabama

A mosquito is tested for Zika virus.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Mario Tama

First Case Of Sexually Transmitted Zika Virus Confirmed In US

Deodorant on display at a grocery store.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Justin Sullivan

Your Deodorant May Be Messing With Your Body's Microbes

Man wears a Fitbit Charge HRWATCHLIST
Fitbit

This University Now Requires New Students To Wear Fitbits

Three different species of owls sit on display at Tori-no Iru Cafe on February 23, 2014 in Tokyo, Japan.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Keith Tsuji

When Owls Bob Their Heads, They're Not Trying To Be Creepy

Joe Biden applauds President Obama at the 2016 State of the UnionWATCHLIST
Getty Images / Evan Vucci

President Obama Announces $755 Million In Cancer Funding For 2017

Health care workers in Brazil fumigate mosquitoesWATCHLIST
Getty Images / Mario Tama

The Zika Outbreak Is Officially An International Health Emergency

A photo of the surface of the moon taken by China's Change'3 Yutu rover.WATCHLIST
China National Space Administration

Until You Can Go To The Moon, These Photos Are The Next Best Thing

Bed bug infestations are becoming more common and are extremely difficult to control.WATCHLIST
U.S. Department of Agriculture / CC BY 2.0

Bedbugs Are Developing A Strong Resistance To Most Common Insecticides

An illustration of the giant, flightless bird known as Genyornis newtoni.WATCHLIST
Monash University / Peter Trusler

50,000 Years Ago, Humans Ate A 500-Pound Bird Into Extinction

Sand tiger shark with a Banded hound shark in its mouth at COEX Aquarium.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / COEX Aquarium

Shark Gives Herself More Personal Space By Eating Tank-Mate

Oswaldo Cruz Hospital staff prepare to draw blood from baby Lorrany Emily da Silva (R), who has microcephaly, on January 26, 2016 in Recife, Pernambuco state, Brazil.WATCHLIST
Getty Images/ Mario Tama

Zika Virus Prompts Brazilian Petition For More Legal Abortion Access

An artistic rendering of how the ESA's new satellite network would work.WATCHLIST
European Space Agency

Super-Fast Space Laser Satellites Could Help Save Lives On Earth

To be fair, the vulture did have tracking equipment on it that could make it look like a spy if one didn't know better.WATCHLIST
Greg Schechter / CC BY 2.0

United Nations Had To Help Israel Get Its Vulture Back From Lebanon

Babylon cuneiform tablet.WATCHLIST
Mathieu Ossendrijver (HU)

Ancient Babylonians Might Have Used Geometry To Track Jupiter

woman covers her face walking past health workers fumigating in an attempt to eradicate the mosquito which transmits the Zika virus on January 28, 2016 in Recife, Pernambuco state, Brazil.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Mario Tama

The Zika Virus Might Interrupt The 2016 Rio Olympics

Israeli mothers are seen taking part in a breast-feeding course on November 12, 2003 Moshav Udim, central Israel.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Uriel Sinai

Breastfeeding Could Save More Than 800,000 Children's Lives A Year

A photo of what looks like UFOs taken in England in 1962WATCHLIST
CIA

The Truth Is In Here: CIA Organizes UFO Files For 'The X-Files' Reboot