Fast facts on who's prescribing opioids

With all the attention being paid to opioid overdose, you'd hope that opioid presecriptions would decline. News flash: Opioid prescribing remains high and varies widely by specialty, according to a new study that showed that a total of 209.5 million opioid prescriptions were dispensed in the U.S. in just one year (from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017).

Who is writing all those prescriptions?

  • Primary care physicians accounted for 35.8% of all prescriptions.
  • Non-physician prescribers accounted for 19.2%.
  • Pain medicine specialists accounted for 8.9%.

The proportion of opioids prescribed by physician assistants and nurse practitioners has increased since 2012 and is expected to continue to rise, given their increased role in the healthcare system.

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