NH Led Nation in Reduction of Opioid Prescriptions in 2017

NH Led Nation in Reduction of Opioid Prescriptions in 2017

Medical Society Helping Lead Response in Expanded Rules, Education and Treatment Options

Concord, NH (April 19, 2018) - New Hampshire saw the largest reduction in opioid prescribing (15.1%) in 2017 and is one of the top states in the nation in reducing opioid prescriptions since 2013 by one-third (33.2%), according to a new report developed by the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science

The substantial reduction coincides with the passage and implementation of New Hampshire’s opioid prescribing rules through the NH Board of Medicine and other health professional boards. The IQVIA report on retail filled prescriptions showed that opioid analgesic prescribing declined nationwide on average 9% last year and 22% since 2013. 

“We are encouraged by the report’s verification on the progress being made by Granite State physicians in reducing opioid prescriptions. But we still have much more to do to expand treatment and recovery services for individuals with opioid use disorders,” said Dr. Leonard Korn, President of the New Hampshire Medical Society (NHMS). 

The Medical Society has played a convening role to help facilitate one of the more reasonable state regulatory approaches for opioid prescribing, educational programs for prescribers, and expanded medication assistance treatment (MAT) services to be integrated with behavioral recovery services.  

“As often repeated to policymakers, New Hampshire needs to be the smartest state in the continuing fight against opioid use disorders, not the toughest,” added the Medical Society’s executive vice president, James Potter. “Toward this objective, we have very much appreciated the ongoing collaboration with state lawmakers – in particular Senate and House HHS Committee Chairs Sen. Jeb Bradley and Rep. Frank Kotowski, the Board of Medicine, Department of Health and Human Services, and other stakeholders.” 

The Medical Society has identified over 30 sources of online courses (many free) and offered a half dozen continuing medical education (CME) seminars annually over the last two years on opioid prescribing, medication assisted treatment (MAT), and non-opioid alternative treatments for pain management, while also auditing all opioid prescribing physicians in the state for the 3 hours of required competency training. 

However, use of illicit fentanyl and resulting overdoses have been on the rise during this period. Resource allocation for treatment and long-term recovery services are still playing catch-up in the state. 

Over the last 18 months, the Medical Society also has sponsored a series of MAT waiver courses to expand the number of practitioners who can prescribe suboxone (buprenorphine) to help individuals with opioid use disorders successfully transition to and maintain a healthier lifestyle. Nearly 300 physicians, PAs and APRNs are expected complete the training by the end of May. The next free 8-hour MAT waiver courses are on April 27th at Wentworth Douglass Hospital and May 25th at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center

IQVIA Opioids Rx by State 2013-2017

Read more here and view the IQVIA study results

For further information, please contact: James Potter, Executive Vice President at 603.224.1909 or james.potter@nhms.org.