Delaware Public Media

First State opioid prescriptions declining; Naloxone is now available over the counter

Nov 9, 2017

Opioid prescriptions in Delaware are down in the months following implementation of new state regulations trying to address the opioid epidemic.

The state Division of Professional Regulation reports a 12% drop in opioid prescriptions, compared to the first quarter of 2017. State officials attribute this to an April resolution requiring first-time opioid prescriptions not exceed a one-week supply.

Delaware Director of Division of Professional Regulation David Mangler says previously some patients reported being issued a 30-day supply of opioids for minor injuries.

“The literature and evidence indicates that, if anything, only a two or three day supply is necessary in those types instances, and if there is continued pain and continued need, then the patient should be reevaluated and reassessed,” said Mangler.

And the April legislation requires patients to do so if they want to refill their script.  Prescribers are also required to check the Prescription Monitoring Program. Dover Pharmacist Greg Malloy says the PMP is a useful tool to spot people trying to abuse opioids.

“Now I have more than gut instincts. I can go online, I can look up a patient, I can print up something. I’ve got documentation saying this patient has been going to A, B and C pharmacy getting this and that,” said Malloy.

Data also shows the number of patients prescribed opioids in Delaware has dropped 8% since the new regulations were passed.

In addition to added restrictions, the April resolution required the opioid overdose antidote Naloxone be made available for over the counter purchase. That program started Thursday.