By Joe Elia
NEJM Journal Watch
While opioid prescriptions have dropped nearly 40% over the past 5 years, fentanyl, amphetamine, and cocaine “are now killing more Americans than ever,” according to the American Medical Association’s Opioid Task Force.
Citing CDC data, the task force says the overdose rate from those drugs has risen more than 10% in recent years. And overall, the overdose death rates per 100,000 population shot up from about 4 to almost 10 between 2014 and 2018.
States showing significant increases in non-fatal overdoses over the past year run in a swath from Maine to Illinois, with New Hampshire — an outlier — showing a significant decrease and Vermont and Rhode Island remaining unchanged. Among the roughly 40 states reporting, Florida and Louisiana also showed significant overdose increases.
The task force offers several recommendations; principal among them is the removal of prior authorization and “other inappropriate administrative burdens” that delay treatment for opioid use disorder.