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Maine Sees Significant Decline In Opioid Prescriptions

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.