Opioid doses, prescriptions for Ohio patients continue to decrease

Opioid prescribing in Ohio continued to decline in 2015, according to a report from the State Board of Pharmacy’s Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System (OARRS).   

In 2015, the total doses of opioids dispensed to Ohio patients decreased to 701 million from a high of 793 million in 2012, a drop of 11.6 percent.  The number of opioid prescriptions provided to Ohio patients decreased by 1.4 million during the same time period.  OARRS data also showed a 71 percent decrease in the amount of people engaged in the practice of doctor shopping since 2010. 

“This is a positive step forward in Ohio’s efforts to address the overprescribing of opioid pain relievers,” says State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy Executive Director Steven W. Schierholt.  “By encouraging the appropriate prescribing of opioids and greater use of OARRS, we can continue to reduce the overall supply available for misuse and addiction.”

To further strengthen efforts to promote safe and responsible opioid prescribing, the Governor’s Cabinet Opiate Action Team (GCOAT) recently released Guidelines for the Management of Acute Pain Outside of Emergency Departments.  For more information on the guidelines and the work of the GCOAT, please visit www.opioidprescribing.ohio.gov.

Established in 2006, OARRS is the only statewide database that collects information on all prescriptions for controlled substances that are dispensed by pharmacies and personally furnished by licensed prescribers in Ohio. OARRS data is available to prescribers when they treat patients, pharmacists when presented with prescriptions from patients and law enforcement officers only during active investigations.

In October 2015, Gov. John Kasich announced an investment of up to $1.5 million a year to make Ohio the first state in the nation to integrate its prescription monitoring program (OARRS) directly into electronic medical records and pharmacy dispensing systems across the state.  As a result, prescribers and pharmacists will be able to automatically check a patient’s controlled substance use within the same system they use day-to-day. To date, the Board has received more than 140 requests for integration, including hospitals, physician offices, pharmacies and major health systems. 

The complete 2015 OARRS report can be accessed by visiting: www.pharmacy.ohio.gov/OARRS2015.