BUFFALO, N.Y. -- New data from the CDC shows a nationwide drop in the number of opioid prescriptions, and every county in Western New York followed that trend.
The CDC's new report compares the number of morphine milligram equivalents (MMEs) per person were prescribed in every county in America from 2010 to 2015.There was around a 20 percent drop across the country.
In Western New York, Niagara County had the highest rate in 2015, at 999.9 MMEs per person. However, that was a 22 percent drop from five years prior.
The number of opioid prescriptions is still more than three times higher than in 1999, so experts say the U.S. still has a long way to go to beat the opioid epidemic.
Doctors have to cutback even more, saving opioids for acute pain, such as after surgery or for people with incurable cancer and other terminal conditions. Arthritis, back pain and other long-term conditions should be treated with other methods, according to Dr. Anne Schuchat, CDC Acting Director.
"Opioid medicines are harmful and probably don't work that well for long-term pain control," Dr. Schuchat said.
Opioid prescriptions have been directly tied to the opioid overdose epidemic. More than 33,000 people died in the U.S. due to an opioid overdose in 2015, according to the CDC.
2 On Your Side obtained county-level data for all of Western New York. The following is the 2015 MMEs of opioids prescribed per county, followed by the rate of change compared to 2010.
- Niagara County - 999.9 MMEs per person - Down 22 percent from 2010
- Erie County - 885.3 MMEs per person - Down 18 percent from 2010
- Orleans County - 593.7 MMEs per person - Down 3 percent from 2010
- Genesee County - 683.5 MMEs per person - Down 34 percent from 2010
- Wyoming County - 597.9 MMEs per person - Down 3 percent from 2010
- Chautauqua County - 940.4 MMEs per person - Down 17 percent from 2010
- Cattaraugus County - 871.8 MMEs per person - Down 16 percent from 2010
- Allegany County - 694.8 MMEs per person - Down 16 percent from 2010
Includes reporting from NBC News. Click here to read more.
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