The number of opioid prescriptions being written by doctors in Maine declined by 32 percent between 2013 and 2017.
In 2017, opioid prescriptions numbers fell by 13.3 percent – the fifth biggest decline in the country.
The numbers released by the American Medical Association come from health data company IQVIA .
"Fewer prescriptions will mean fewer overdose deaths,” says Dr. Noah Nesin, vice president of Medical Affairs with Penobscot Community Health Care in Bangor.
But Nesin cautions that there is a lot of damage to be undone, and the process won't be speedy.
"It's going to take time for that to show up as impacting overdose deaths, because we have such a significant heroin and fentanyl challenge in the state of Maine that's now become a separate problem,” Nesin says. “But you know this is such an important upstream cause of the problem that we're facing that reducing the burden of opioids on our society is a good thing."
The statistics show an overall 22 percent decrease in opioid prescriptions being written across the country.