State news

State's opioid prescriptions down but number of deaths high

New statistics show Connecticut physicians are prescribing fewer opioids to their patients, but the number of deaths associated with the powerful painkillers remains high.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner reports that 1,017 people died in 2018 from accidental overdoses. Of those, 948 were related to opioids. That's slightly lower than the 961 opioid-related deaths in 2017, but considerably higher than the 298 opioid-related deaths in 2012.

Connecticut's Department of Consumer Protection says there were 1.9 million opioid prescriptions processed in 2018, down from 2.6 million in 2015.

Dr. Gregory Shangold of the state medical society's Opioid Committee says reducing prescriptions "wasn't the whole problem." He says there's a continued need for more treatment beds and access to overdose-reversal medication.


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