In the first year that two Florida laws aimed at curbing opioid prescriptions were in effect, the state's top opioid prescribers wrote significantly fewer prescriptions of this type of pain medication, according to a new study published June 2, 2016, in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.
During the one-year period after the law went into effect, the researchers estimate that opioid prescriptions by Florida's top opioid prescribers fell 6.2 percent and the total volume prescribed by this group dropped 13.5 percent (compared to a scenario in which the laws were not implemented). In this group, the number of patients also dropped, by 5.1 percent. (The top four percent included 1,526 providers out of a total of 38,465 in the state.) Among the remaining 96 percent of prescribers, prescriptions slipped a mere 0.7 percent.
Low-risk providers did not experience statistically significantly relative reductions, nor did policy implementation affect the status of being high- vs. low- risk prescribers.