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3 Ways the Region Where You Live May be a Factor in Your Prescription Addiction

Data suggests where health care providers practice influences how they prescribe, and the higher the rate of prescribing painkillers, the higher the rate of overdose deaths. This makes uneven prescription practices particularly dangerous.

If you live in areas where doctors are more likely to prescribe, you may have an easier time accessing prescriptions as well as the drugs themselves, which can lead to dependency and addiction. Plus, the ready access of the medications can make sobriety a challenge, as traditional barriers to accessing prescription medications are reduced.

If you are facing prescription addiction, you deserve help, regardless of the region in which you live. Call at 800-654-0987 and start your journey to sobriety now.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) assert people in the US consume opioid pain relievers (OPR) at a greater rate than any other nation. In 2010, American citizens consumed twice as much per capita as Canadian ones. And, Canada was the second ranking nation.

Although the precise reason for the variance in prescription rates between states is unknown, experts believe that the differences cannot be attributed to differences in the population being served. Instead, high rates are likely to indicate the need to recognize prescribing practices that do not balance pain relief and patient safety.

Prescription Drug Addiction Statistics

What’s Causing This?

Although the CDC does not believe that differing patient needs are the cause of this trend, they do offer up the following potential causes:

  • Health care providers in different parts of the country don’t agree on when to use prescription painkillers and how much to prescribe.
  • Some of the increased demand for prescription painkillers is from people who use them nonmedically (using drugs without a prescription or just for the high they cause), sell them, or get them from multiple prescribers at the same time.
  • Many states report problems with for-profit, high-volume pain clinics (so-called “pill mills”) that prescribe large quantities of painkillers to people who don’t need them medically.

All of these factors contribute to a greater likelihood of dependency.

Which State is the Worst?

Region Where You Live

Not all doctors agree on how often they should prescribe painkillers.

There is not a region that consistently offers the most prescriptions. Rather, the type of prescription dictates the region of most prescription. A CDC Study determined: “For both OPR [opioid pain relievers] and benzodiazepines, rates were higher in the South census region … Rates for LA/ER [long-acting/extended-release] and high-dose OPR were highest in the Northeast.”

In 2012, the states with the lowest number of painkiller prescription rates per 100 people were:

  • Hawaii (52)
  • California (57)
  • New York (60)
  • Minnesota (62)
  • New Jersey (63)

The highest were:

  • Oklahoma (128)
  • Kentucky (128)
  • West Virginia (138)
  • Alabama (143)
  • Tennessee (143)


States who utilized their prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs)—systems that record all prescriptions for drugs prone to abuse to determine the factors driving their high prescribing rates—were able to lower the rates of prescription.

For example:

  • In 2012, New York required prescribers to check their PDMP before providing a prescription and achieved a 75 percent drop in the number of patients who were seeing multiple prescribers to obtain the same drugs.
  • In 2010, Florida regulated pain clinics and stopped the distribution of pain killers in health care offices. The state was able to decrease overdose deaths from oxycodone by 50 percent.
  • In 2012, Tennessee mirrored New York’s actions by requiring prescribers to check the state PDMP and achieved a 36 percent decrease in patients seeing multiple prescribers for the same drugs.

Exercising policy options (laws and regulations) and using a monitoring program are both great methods of reducing unnecessary/excessive prescribing.

Yes, the state your live-in can mean that you have higher than average access to prescription drugs and that can fuel an addiction, but you don’t need to let that addiction take over your life. You can take your life back with help. Call at 800-654-0987 and speak to someone who wants to help.

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