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Facts About Opioids

What are Opioids?

Opioids are narcotics used for pain relief that produce morphine-like effects on the body. These drugs have significant side effects and can even lead to death when misused. Common names of opioids are hydrocodone (Vicodin, Norco), oxycodone (Percocet, OxyContin), morphine, codeine (Tylenol #3, Tylenol #4), Fentanyl, methadone, and tramadol (Ultram).


Who is Most at Risk for an Opioid Addiction?

Those most at risk for opioid addiction are those who:

  • Have a history of depression or anxiety
  • Have a history of using or abusing alcohol, tobacco, or drugs (including prescriptions and street drugs)
  • Have a history of long-term chronic pain
  • Take opioids for longer than one week
  • Take more pills than their doctor prescribes

Recent State Statistics That Show Progress

We are thankful that the most recent state statistics reveal some progress.

  • In 2017, the National Institute on Drug abuse reported Michigan providers wrote 74 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons. This represents a 25 percent decline in Michigan opioid prescriptions since 2013. 
  • According to National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2,033 people in Michigan died in 2017 of opioid-related drug overdoses. Their statistics also show that while synthetic opioids (mainly fentanyl) were involved in many of these deaths, prescription opioid deaths decreased from 678 deaths in 2016 to 633 deaths in 2017.
  • The Michigan Automated Prescription System reports that as of June 18, 2019 the number of opioids dispensed have gone down 15 percent from 9.26 million to 8.22 million.

Progress within Munson Healthcare

  • Patients discharged from emergency departments with an opioid prescription decreased to 8 percent in FY 2019 from 11.8 percent in FY 2018.
  • Opioid overdose per 1,000 visits to emergency departments decreased to 6.2 percent (551 patients) in FY 2019 from 7.9 percent (715 patients) in FY 2018.
  • The neonatal abstinence syndrome rate per 1,000 births decreased to 16.1 percent (38 babies) in FY 2019 from 18.3 percent (45 babies) in FY 2018.

What Does Michigan Law Now Require?

Munson Healthcare providers who prescribe narcotics comply with state legislation governing the number of pills that may be prescribed for pain and also are part of the state’s MAPS system.

Michigan requirements are as follows:

  1. Providers must share the risks of opioid medications with their patients
  2. Providers must have a “bona fide prescriber-patient relationship” when prescribing opioids
  3. Providers must be registered with the state MAPS system and review MAPS which tracks prescriptions prior to prescribing Schedules 2-5 controlled substances
  4. Providers treating patients for opioid-related overdoses to provide such patients with information regarding Substance Use Disorder Services
  5. Providers may not prescribe more than a seven-day supply of opioid drugs to patients