Under scrutiny, New Mexico opioid prescriptions taper off


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The number of people receiving opioid pain medication prescriptions or risky duplicate prescriptions is showing a precipitous decline in New Mexico since the state ordered doctors to check a database that flags patients who get narcotics from multiple sources.

New Mexico State Epidemiologist Michael Landen tracks opioid prescription patterns in the state with the highest drug overdose death rate west of the Mississippi River.

He said Thursday the number of people receiving opioid prescriptions fell 5 percent for the first three months of the year versus the same 2016 period. The number of opioid prescriptions that overlap by at least 10 days fell by 13 percent.

On Jan. 1, New Mexico strengthened its prescription monitoring program to require that health care providers screen opioid prescriptions against a statewide electronic database.