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The U.S. may be gripped by an opioid crisis, but a new report suggests the various measures undertaken to fight the scourge is having an effect — fewer prescriptions were written for the addictive painkillers.

To wit, opioid prescriptions declined by 10.2 percent in 2017 and prescriptions for the highest doses fell by 16.1 percent last year, and 33.1 percent since January 2016. Moreover, on average, prescription opioid volume has decreased every year over the past five years in all 50 states, according to data from the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science, which is part of the IQVIA market research firm.


At the same time, IQVIA found, there appears to be a corresponding increase in new treatment starts for so-called medication-assisted therapies for opioid use dependence, nearly doubling from 44,000 to 82,000 per month. These are medications that help temper cravings, although they may not completely stop addiction.

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