A leading driver of changes in opioid prescriptions is Kaiser Permanente of Southern California. The health-care giant released a new study last week that looked at five years of opioid prescribing patterns for 3.2 million of its members who live from the San Diego-Mexico border to Bakersfield.
Researchers found a 30 percent reduction in the prescription of high-dose opioids during that period and a 98 percent drop in the number of prescriptions written for 200 or more opioid pills at a time. There was also a 90 percent decrease in concurrent prescription of opioid painkillers and benzodiazepines such as Xanex or Valium. Using these drugs in combination significantly increases the risk of an overdose.
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