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Opioid prescriptions dropped for the first time since the modern addiction crisis began,
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said prescriptions for highly addictive painkillers such as oxycodone dropped 13.1 percent between 2012 and 2015, offering a glimmer of progress in efforts to quell the worst drug epidemic in U.S. history.
But Anne Schuchat, the CDC’s acting director, expressed only tempered optimism about the first national decline in opioid prescribing the agency has reported since the crisis began in the late 1990s. She said the prescription rate is still triple the level it was in 1999 and four times as much as it is in some European countries. Even at the reduced prescribing rate, she said, enough opioids were ordered in 2015 to keep every American medicated around the clock for three weeks.