A small, but significant decrease in the amount of opioids that are prescribed and dispensed was seen after Florida enacted their Prescription Drug Monitoring Program and pill mill laws, according to recently published data in JAMA Internal Medicine.
“… Implementation of Florida’s [prescription drug monitoring program] and pill mill law was associated with modest decreases in opioid use and prescribing among patients and providers with high levels of opioid use at baseline relative to Georgia, a comparison state,” Lainie Rutkow, JD, PhD, MPH, associate professor, department of health policy and management, Bloomberg School of Public Health, said in the study.
To assess the impact Florida’s recent prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) and pill mill laws have had on rates of opioid prescriptions and use, Rutkow and colleagues analyzed data from July 2010 through September 2012 on IMS Health LifeLink LRx. Overall, the analyses included 2.6 million patients, 431,890 prescribers and 2,829 pharmacies across Florida and Georgia (control state).
Of 480 million total prescriptions within Florida and Georgia between 2010 and 2012, 7.7% of those were for opioids.
Prior to Florida’s legislation implementation, total opioid volume, mean morphine milligram equivalent (MME) and mean days’ supply per transaction were all lower in Georgia, compared with Florida.
A significant association between Florida’s laws and decrease in opioid volume (P < .05) and MME per transaction (P < .05) was seen.
Compared with rates pre-implementation, Florida’s total opioid volume decreased by 4%, mean MME per transaction decreased by 5.7% and mean days’ supply per transaction increased by 3.8% post-implementation. During the same time span, Georgia saw a 2.3% decrease in total volume, a 4.7% decrease in mean MME per transaction and a 5.7% increase in mean days’ supply per transaction.
A 1.4% decrease in opioid prescriptions, a 2.5% decrease in opioid volume and a 5.6% decrease in MME per transaction was seen 1 year after Florida implemented pill mill laws and PDMP.
The researchers noted that the greatest decreases were observed in prescribers and patients with the highest baseline opioid prescribing and use.
“Our results are important given the soaring rates of prescription opioid abuse, as well as the prominent role that laws having in shaping states’ response to the epidemic. Our findings highlight the need for more evidence demonstrating the effect of PDMP and pill mill laws,” Rutkow and colleagues wrote. – by Casey Hower
Disclosures: Rutkow reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the full study for a list of all other researchers’ relevant financial disclosures.