Michigan Reports Progress Against Opioid Use

The number of opioid prescriptions issued in 2071 was 10.7 percent below the number in 2015, and the overall number of schedules 2-5 controlled substance prescriptions dispensed fell by 7.1 percent during the same period.

Michigan officials reported progress in reducing use of opioids in the state, saying the number of opioid prescriptions issued in 2071 was 10.7 percent below the number in 2015 and the overall number of schedules 2-5 controlled substance prescriptions dispensed fell by 7.1 percent during the same period. There were 9,670,789 opioid prescriptions issued in the state in 2017, down from 10,883,681 in 2015.

Also, for the first time since 2011, the total number of controlled substance prescriptions dispensed in Michigan during 2017 fell below 20 million, to 19,943,203. (As of 2018, the state's total population was estimated at 9.9 million.)

The state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs released the prescription totals in conjunction with the 2017 Drug Utilization Report. For the first time since its inception in 2007, the report outlined dispensing behavior by prescriber, dispenser, patient, and county through data collected by the Michigan Automated Prescription System (MAPS) in 2017.

"These figures are promising indicators for our continuing efforts against the opioid epidemic in Michigan," Lt. Governor Brian Calley said. "The decrease in dispensing means less potentially addictive opioids in our communities. However, in order to continue this positive trend, our health professional and public safety partners must continue a conscientious approach to prescribing and dispensing while managing care for patients."

Gov. Rick Snyder's Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse Task Force in 2015 recommended updating and replacing MAPS, requiring additional training for professionals who prescribe controlled substances, and creating a public awareness campaign about the dangers of prescription drug abuse. LARA and partner state agencies have raised awareness for physicians and patients through education and outreach about opioids. "The decrease in the number of controlled substances dispensed is a result of our partnerships and collective efforts to raise awareness among patients and health professionals," said LARA Director Shelly Edgerton. "We, along with our partners, will continue our targeted education and outreach efforts to fight back against this devastating public health crisis."

The new MAPS launched in April 2017 and makes it more efficient for practitioners to obtain information on controlled substances and schedule 2-5 drugs that have been dispensed to patients. Prescribers include dentists, physicians, physician assistants, podiatrists, optometrists, veterinarians, and advanced practice registered nurses under delegation; there are currently more than 30,000 registered users of the new MAPS, and the number will rise after two new laws take effect on June 1, 2018, that require all prescribers of schedules 2-5 controlled substances to register with MAPS and require all prescribers to check MAPS before prescribing a controlled substance in a quantity exceeding a three-day supply.

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