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CDC: Rural Counties Have Highest Opioid Prescription Levels In Oregon

<p>The amount of opioids prescribed in the U.S. peaked seven years ago.</p>

Robert F. Bukaty

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The amount of opioids prescribed in the U.S. peaked seven years ago.

Counties with the highest opioid prescription levels in the U.S. tend to have small cities and a higher percentage of white residents. They also have a high unemployment rate, more doctors and more people living with arthritis and disabilities.

A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that in Oregon, that translated to eastern counties like Union and Wallowa, and southwestern counties like Lane, Douglas and Jackson.

Head of the CDC, Dr. Anne Schuchat, said many doctors still prescribe too many pills, for too long at a high dosage.

“The amount of opioids prescribed in 2015 was enough for every American to be medicated around the clock for three weeks," she said.

The CDC wants doctors to prescribe painkillers like ibuprofen instead of opioids and recommend physical therapy and exercise.

Copyright 2017 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Kristian Foden-Vencil is a reporter and producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting. He specializes in health care, business, politics, law and public safety.