Opioid prescribing is falling in the US, but not everywhere

By MIKE STOBBE Markets Associated Press

A new U.S. report finds overall opioid prescription rates have been falling in recent years, but rising in more than 1 in 5 counties.

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The report released Thursday is the latest to show a decline in opioid prescribing as regulators and others have pushed doctors to cut back.

The overall prescribing rate fell 13 percent between 2010 and 2015. But researchers found local differences. Opioid prescribing is six times higher in some counties than others.

The report presents county-level data from 59,000 pharmacies. Prescribing declined in about half of U.S. counties between 2010 and 2015, but rose in many others.

The researchers say closing pill mills and other factors may have shifted rates from place to place.

Opioids are driving what is the deadliest drug overdose epidemic in U.S. history.