prescription abuse

A state-by-state analysis of opioid prescriptions for people who visited emergency rooms with a sprained ankle show one in four patients were given opioids for pain.

The study looked at insurance claims for ER visits between 2011 and 2015.

At the low end, prescribing rates were around three percent and at the high end 40. The overall average was 25 percent.

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Of the six opioid bills introduced to the state legislature this session, five passed and are on Gov. John Hickenlooper's desk. A bi-partisan group of state lawmakers drafted the bills last November to address Colorado's growing opioid epidemic. The bills look at the issue from many sides, including increasing access to behavioral health care providers and medication-assisted treatment, limiting pain pill prescriptions limits and changing how insurance and Medicaid handle opioid dependence medications.

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In an effort to reduce drug addiction, Colorado will expand drop-off locations for the disposal of prescription drugs.

Data shows most people who abuse prescription drugs get them from a family member or friend, said Gregg Fabisiak, a coordinator with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

“We really believe that if people rid their homes of the medications that they no longer need, it’ll reduce the supply of those drugs that are obtained illicitly,” he said.