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4:14 PM Mon, Oct. 22nd

Community View | Opioid numbers don’t tell the whole story

I understand opioid pain medications are a serious problem for a few people. But the vast majority of pain patients don’t abuse their medications, they use them to get up, get out and be active.

When you only look at the numbers and count pills it really sounds bad. Truth is there are 300,000,000 people in the US and around one-third or 92,000,000 Americans were prescribed an opioid pain medication in 2015. Mohave County has one of the highest overdose rates in Arizona. If you look at the numbers Mohave County has a population of 200,000 people. Of those 200,000 people at one-third, 76,000 residents were prescribed an opioid pain medication.

An AZcentral.com article said four Mohave County doctors write prescriptions for 6,000,000 pills in a 12 month period. Sounds pretty bad – but when you do the math 6,000,000 divided by 76,000 patients is only 76 pills per patient.

When you add the fact that most opioid pain medications are a four-hour medication, and it takes 180 pills a month for one pill every four hours, or 2160 pills a year. When you divide the 6,000,000 pills by 2160 pills per patient per year it’s only enough pain medications for 2700 patients for one year.

It’s sad when someone abuses opioid pain medications and overdoses. It’s a tragedy when a pain patient ends their life for lack of pain control.