A new study suggests that legislative initiatives designed to shed Florida's reputation as a haven for inappropriate opioid prescribing produced some desired results.
Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Public Health Law Research program and published this week in JAMA Internal Medicine, the study found that the state's pill mill and prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) laws led to decreases in opioid prescriptions between July 2010 and September 2012. The decreases occurred exclusively among those prescribers who had shown the highest prescribing rates, and amounted to a 1.4% decline in the aggregate.
The study examined a database of more than 430,000 prescribers who generated around 480 million prescriptions during the study period, with about 8% of them for opioids. As a basis of comparison, researchers examined prescribing patterns during the same time period in Georgia, which had neither law in place at the time.
Florida's attempt through 2010 legislation to crack down on “pill mill” pain clinics was spurred by data showing that, for example, 90 of the 100 highest-volume physician buyers of oxycodone in the nation that year were located in Florida.
Study authors suggest in their report that states should engage in outreach to their highest-volume opioid prescribers, as well as encourage drug treatment services for individuals at risk of turning to street heroin when access to prescription opioids becomes restricted.