CDC: Naloxone Prescriptions Up but Still Fall Short in Rural Areas

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) examined trends and characteristics of prescriptions for naloxone, a drug that can help prevent overdose deaths by reversing the effects of opioids.  By analyzing data from retail pharmacies across the U.S., the CDC found that the number of naloxone prescriptions increased substantially from 2012 to 2018 with an increase of 106 percent from 2017 to 2018 alone.  The CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain recommends prescribing naloxone for patients who are at high risk for overdose, but the new research found that only one naloxone prescription was dispensed for every 69 high-dose opioid prescriptions – with the lowest rate in rural counties.  Last week, the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics released a brief, Urban-Rural Differences in Drug Overdose Death Rates, showing rates were higher in urban areas for overdose deaths involving heroin, synthetic opioids, and cocaine, but higher in rural for natural and semisynthetic opioids, and psychostimulants with abuse potential.   Click here to access the full report.