Jose M. Osorio/TNS/SIPA USA

Opioid use in Kansas decreasing

According to statistics from K-TRACS

April 20, 2018 - 5:48 am

According to data reported to Kansas’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, K-TRACS, there were at least 2.5 million opioid prescriptions and nearly 190 million opioid units (i.e., pills, patches, films or vials) dispensed to Kansas patients in 2017. That equals a rate of 88.5 prescriptions per 100 Kansans and 65.1 opioid units per Kansan. This is equivalent to dispensing an approximate 14-day supply of an opioid prescription to 8 out of 10 Kansas residents in 2017. 

That number is a nearly 9 percent drop since 2016.  The Kansas Information Network spoke with KDHE Chief Medical Officer Dr. Greg Lakin.

“We’re encouraged by the lack of numbers of prescriptions being written for different opiates,” said Dr. Lakin.  “Doctors are increasingly becoming more aware of some of the dangers of opiates. They’re taking more precautions to make sure that patients are being treated appropriately and if there is kind of addictive behaviors, they can address it right away. Patients also are aware of dangers like we’ve never been before, because you’ll hear about people overdosing especially on those kind of street drugs like carfentanyl and things like that, that are just unforgiving.”

Dr. Lakin says diligent use of the K-TRACS system can help limit overprescribing.

“Doctors, I think, have always understood the utility of it,” said Dr. Lakin. “I think it’s more integrated in their electronic medical records and as doctors get more used to utilizing it each and every time, it’s become even more effective.”

In 2017, the Kansas Board of Pharmacy and Kansas Department of Health and Environment collaborated to integrate K-TRACS data into Electronic Health Records (EHR) and pharmacy management systems. This enhancement to K-TRACS may also assist prescribers and pharmacists with making clinically informed decisions about prescribing or dispensing opioids. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Prescription Drug Overdose: Data-Driven Prevention Initiative Program supports this project.

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