A new report by Trust for America’s Health scores state efforts to curb prescription drug abuse and overdoses based on 10 indicators. States receive points for having: a database that tracks prescriptions of controlled drugs; a requirement that prescribers and dispensers use the tracking database in certain circumstances; a statute that prohibits “doctor shopping” to obtain prescription drugs; Medicaid coverage of substance abuse treatment as an “essential health benefit”; mandatory or recommended education for pain medication prescribers; legal immunity for people seeking help for an overdose; lay access to the overdose rescue drug naloxone; a physical exam requirement for prescription medications; a law requiring or permitting pharmacists to ask for identification before dispensing controlled substances; and a requirement that people suspected of misusing controlled substances use a single prescriber or pharmacy.
With one point for each indicator, scores range from a “2” in South Dakota to a “10” in New Mexico and Vermont. Mississippi scored a "5."
According to the report, overdose deaths involving prescription painkillers have quadrupled since 1999 to outnumber those from heroin and cocaine combined.