A new national report shows actions by Alabama physicians are advancing the fight against the opioid crisis. Since 2011, Alabama physicians have reduced the number of opioid prescriptions in the state by 38 percent, the American Medical Association reported today. This marks the seventh consecutive year the number of opioid prescriptions in Alabama has dropped.
The report also shows Alabama physicians are prescribing safer dosages of opioids. The Morphine Milligram Equivalent of prescriptions, which is an opioid's dosage equivalency to morphine and gauges its overdose potential, fell by 47 percent in Alabama since 2011.
Aruna Arora, MD, the President of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama pointed to several factors that have helped:
• Increase in Education - The Medical Association of the State of Alabama was one of the first state medical associations in the country to offer an opioid prescribing education course, which has reached more than 8,000 prescribers since 2009.
• Drug Monitoring Program - Physicians and other healthcare professionals accessed the state's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) nearly 5.4 million times in 2020, an increase of 20 percent from 2019 and more than 63 percent since 2018. Healthcare providers who dispense opioids in Alabama must report the prescription information to the PDMP, which helps physicians detect the abuse of prescription medications.
• Tougher laws - New laws passed by the Legislature combat prescription drug abuse by cracking down on doctor shopping and strengthen regulation of pain management clinics to prevent fly-by-night facilities from operating in Alabama.