Decrease in Opioid Prescriptions Shows Progress in Michigan's Fight Against Epidemic

Thursday, April 26, 2018

LANSING, Mich. – New data indicates that Michigan’s collaborative strategy to curb the opioid epidemic is making progress. The number of opioid prescriptions dispensed decreased by 10.7 percent since 2015 while the overall number of schedules 2-5 controlled substance prescriptions dispensed decreased by 7.1 percent during that same timespan. For the first time since 2011, the total number of controlled substance prescriptions dispensed in Michigan fell below 20 million. 

  2015 2017 %

Schedules 2-5 Controlled Substances 

21,472,326

19,943,203

-7.1

Opioids

10,833,681

9,670,789

-10.7


The Dept. of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) released these findings in conjunction with the 2017 Drug Utilization Report. For the first time since its inception in 2007, the report outlines dispensing behavior by prescriber, dispenser, patient and county through data collected by the Michigan Automated Prescription System (MAPS) in 2017.

“These figures are promising indicators for our continuing efforts against the opioid epidemic in Michigan,” said Lt. Governor Brian Calley. “The decrease in dispensing means less potentially addictive opioids in our communities. However, in order to continue this positive trend, our health professional and public safety partners must continue a conscientious approach to prescribing and dispensing while managing care for patients.”

Three of the key recommendations by Governor Rick Snyder’s Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse Task Force in 2015 were to update and replace MAPS, require additional training for professionals who prescribe controlled substances, and creating a public awareness campaign about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.

LARA, in conjunction with partner state agencies, has helped raise awareness for both physicians and patients through collaborative education and outreach efforts related to the potentially harmful and addictive nature of opioids. Additionally, LARA has supplied health professionals with supplementary tools, data, and analytics that inform clinical decisions when prescribing controlled substances.

“The decrease in the number of controlled substances dispensed is a result of our partnerships and collective efforts to raise awareness among patients and health professionals,” said LARA Director Shelly Edgerton. “We, along with our partners, will continue our targeted education and outreach efforts to fight back against this devastating public health crisis.”

Corresponding to the drop in controlled substance prescription are double-digit percent drops in units dispensed (i.e. tablets, milliliters) and total opioid morphine milligram equivalents (MME) from 2015 to 2017.

  2015 2017 %

Units Dispensed
(i.e. tablets, milliliters)

1,421,827,742 1,264,366,171 -11.1

Days supply dispensed 

518,166,761 495,249,159 -4.4

Total Opioid MME

9,756,343,149 7,960,705,895 -18.4


Additionally, seven specific controlled substances – including commonly abused hydrocodone and oxycodone –  were dispensed at significantly lower numbers in 2017. 

Controlled Substance 2015 2017 %

Alprazolam 2 mg

10,227,915

6,939,880

-32.1

Alprazolam 1 mg

41,499,216

34,379,472

-17.2

Hydrocodone 10 mg

177,326,801

151,080,925

-14.8

Hydrocodone 7.5 mg

107,776,175

84,705,294

-21.4

Carisoprodol 350 mg

13,124,785

7,808,190

-40.5

Oxycodone 30 mg

16,666,622

12,306,723

-26.2
Promethazine w/Codeine 41,758,634

28,579,490

-31.6

 

The overall decrease in opioid prescriptions can also be attributed to the increase in registration and usage of MAPS by health professionals in Michigan.

The new MAPS – which launched in April 2017 – provides prescribers with a user-friendly portal, making it more efficient for practitioners to obtain information of controlled substances and schedule 2-5 drugs that have been dispensed to patients. Prescribers include dentists, physicians (M.D. and D.O.), physician assistants, podiatrists, optometrists, veterinarians, and advanced practice registered nurses under delegation.

There are currently over 30,000 registered users of the new MAPS. That number will grow this year after Public Acts 248 and 249 take effect on June 1, 2018. These laws require all prescribers of schedules 2-5 controlled substances to register with MAPS. Additionally, all prescribers will be required to check MAPS before prescribing a controlled substance in a quantity that exceeds a 3-day supply.

The State is using every available tool to combat the opioid epidemic. The collaborative efforts of state agencies amplifies Michigan’s efforts related to prevention and treatment of patients, education of health professionals and enforcement of overprescribers.

In addition to LARA operating MAPS, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services provides resources for patients, health professionals and communities related to prevention and treatment of opioid abuse. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality assists individuals with proper drug disposal of unwanted prescription medications. All Michigan State Police posts serve as prescription drug take-back sites and operate the Angel Program for individuals struggling with drug addiction. The efforts of state agencies are advised by the Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse Commission which is made up of health professionals, law enforcement officers, substance abuse treatment providers, government officials and citizens.

For more information on MAPS, visit Michigan.gov/MiMAPSInfo.

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