SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Doctors cut the number of opioid prescriptions written in the last year by 13.4 percent in South Dakota. Nationwide opioid prescriptions were down by an average of 12 percent.
A more dramatic reduction in doctors writing prescriptions for opioid painkillers took place over the last five years. Nationwide prescriptions were down by 33 percent overall in that time period, but in South Dakota that number was 27 percent.
The South Dakota State Medical Association says use of the database to track controlled substance prescriptions has increased, with nearly 7,000 health care professional now registered in the state’s prescription drug monitoring program.
“We are so happy to see these positive results. Although we still have work to do, we’re seeing huge successes in working with physicians and implementing many important reforms that are positively impacting patients,” said SDSMA President Robert J. Summerer, DO. “Using this momentum, we’ll continue to go even further to save the lives of those affected by the misuse of opioids.”
However, while the number of opioid prescriptions have gone down, overdose deaths continue to rise. The SDMA said it recognizes that when opioids become hard to get, more people turn to illegal drugs. SMSMA is calling for improved access and coverage for pain management and treatment of substance use disorders.