The number of prescription drugs being dispensed in West Virginia is on pace to drop to its lowest amount in five years.
The number of controlled substances being dispensed is expected to fall to 268 million by the end of the year, The Charleston Gazette-Mail reported. In 2011, 295 million doses of the drugs were dispensed.
The opioid Hydrocodone has dropped by 40 percent over the five-year period, while the number of oxycodone pills has remained largely unchanged. The painkiller tramadol has increased by 30 percent, however.
Despite the drop in drugs being dispensed, the number of prescriptions being written in the state is expected to increase and top 5 million. That number is the highest the state has seen since 2013.
Mike Goff, who administers West Virginia’s Controlled Substances Monitoring Database, said doctors have been writing more prescriptions, but for shorter durations.
“Instead of a 30-day prescription for 180 or 240 opioid pills, they’re writing a 15-day supply and cutting it in half,” he said. “So it’s less pills in the medicine cabinet and into the hands of patients who could potentially do something wrong with it.”
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