By R Carter
How to use and read this report:
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- Click the link below to open a new browser tab with the report.
- Select a year between 2006-2012
- Select one or more Drug Types
- Select one or more Business Types
- Select a State then one or more Cities
- Click the View Report button to the far upper right
- Numbers are reported as Average Monthly Scripts based on daily MME dosages of 30, 50, 90, 120, 150. For some non-cancer patients, dosages run as high as 350 MME per day, more for patients with cancer. Meaning, the actual number of scripts as reported here, are lower.
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What about the 76 Billion doses reported?
The DEA has reported more than 76 billion doses of prescription opioids dispensed to US citizens between 2006 and 2012. It would be more accurate to state this amount was prescribed to people and animals, since the data includes pills used in veterinary medicine.
Fundamentally the pill database supports the claim and in fact suggests an unknown amount which exceeds 76 billion. Because the database only includes Hydrocodone and Oxycodone, it does not account for drugs such as codeine, morphine, tramadol, hydromorphone, meperidine and fentanyl. Yet with what’s reported, it’s only enough for every US citizen to have 4 pills between 2006-2012. If you assume the number of pain patients receiving opioids for pain management is 100 Million, a low estimate by some accounts, that amounts to 37 pills per month, per person during the seven year period.
As anyone with basic math skills can discover, this averages out to a normal amount prescribed on a monthly basis, hardly the epidemic that is claimed.
Using a higher estimate of 150 million people, including and animals, it comes out to 2 pill per person or animal, per month.
Still, assuming the worst, the number of pills reported is an amount equal to an average monthly dose. The real question then becomes, how many chronic medical conditions are being treated with opioids? There seems to be no clear and definitive answer to this question as the data doesn’t include acute and chronic pain conditions. Leaving law enforcement to paint a picture of excess where none likely exists.
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