More than 130 people in the U.S. die each day from an opioid overdose, according to the American Medical Association (AMA). A report published by the group’s Opioid Task Force suggests Arkansas’ medical community is making strides to address the problem.
The annual progress report found that the state’s opioid prescriptions fell by 11% from 2017 to 2018. It also shared that there was an increase in the number of physicians trained to treat addicted patients, something that is often a problem throughout the crisis.
Dr. Randy Conover is a family physician in Centerton, and he said he wasn’t surprised to see the number of prescriptions falling considering regulations and steps to remedy the problem. He said a monitoring system has made it easier for doctors to see when someone is at risk of overprescription.
“When someone’s asking for an opioid, I can see who’s prescribed it in the last two, three years,” Conover said. “How many doctors they’re going to…are they shopping around? So, those kinds of monitoring programs help us to help them.”
Conover said continued education is key for doctors to understand what opioids can do, and he said it’s important to remember that some people need the prescriptions for real medical purposes.