We sometimes hear the theory that reduced prescribing will be backfilled by street drugs, leading to increased overdose deaths in the community. While a lot more data needs to be gathered on this topic, Anne Arundel County in Maryland has been monitoring data that contradicts this theory. Anne Arundel Medical Center has reduced opioid prescribing by 67% under the mantra, “all of the drug you need, and none that you don’t need”.
As we underwent this careful and thoughtful reduction, our overdoses in the community have consistently gone down as well. The Baltimore Sun recently highlighted the fact that overdoses decreased nearly every single month throughout the past year.