Healthy Life

CDC Recommends Doctors Scale Back Prescribing of Opiates

It’s the latest step in fighting addiction to drugs like Vicodin and OxyContin.

BY March 17, 2016


In an answer to a national crisis of addiction and overdose, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging doctors to clamp down on their prescriptions of opium-based drugs like Vicodin, Percocet and OxyContin.

The agency on Tuesday published the first national standards for prescription painkillers, recommending that doctors first try less habit-forming remedies like ibuprofen before turning to the opiates. When prescription painkillers are warranted, the CDC recommends giving patients only a few days’ supply.

The agency cautioned against using opiates for long-term pain management—a significant departure from current prescribing trends.

The guidelines have been much-debated, and some organizations fear more restrictions for patients who would benefit from opioid therapy. But it appears that a rising death toll drove the discussion.

Nationally, opioid deaths reached an all-time high of 28,647 in 2014, the latest statistics available. That includes heroin overdoses as more opiate addicts switch from pricey prescription pills to the more widely available and cheaper street drug.

Southwest Florida hasn’t been immune, as we outlined in this special report in this month’s issue of Gulfshore Life. Older adults, as we detailed in last November’s edition, are particularly susceptible to addiction to prescription painkillers and other substances, due to drug interactions, slowing metabolisms and other physiological changes.


Read The Feel Good Report every Tuesday and Thursday online and every month in Gulfshore Life.


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