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Sussex pharamacist on new national opioid crisis data

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Delaware Public Media
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A newly released database from the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) maps the spread of prescription opioids across the country in recent years. A Sussex County pharmacist is offering his take on the data.

According to the DEA data, Sussex County had the highest density of opioids in the state between 2006 and 2012 with more than 62 pills per person per year.

The report says the Pill Box in Milford dispensed more opioids during that time than any other pharmacy in the county. Pill Box Pharmacist Kodwo Sekyi says that’s likely because the Pill Box dispenses a higher volume of prescriptions for all medications compared to other pharmacies in the region.

“At the time we were doing about 500 scripts a day,” said Sekyi. “So if you look at the percentage we were probably filling about 10% of controlled medication, which is not out of range.”

Sekyi adds he is dispensing fewer opioids on average now than he was a few years ago and credits changes to Delaware’s Medicaid law.

“Medicaid’s regulation was allowing people 200 units of pain medication every month. When Medicaid cut that back [sic] and put some controls in place, it greatly reduced the amount of pain medication we dispense,” he said.

Sekyi says laws bolstering Delaware’s prescription monitoring program have also helped to track patients receiving opioid prescriptions from multiple sources.

“That helps the pharmacist not only know to dispense safely for the patient’s advantage,” said Sekyi. “Not only that, but to try to weed out those criminals that are trying to fill from multiple sources and sell on the street.”

The DEA data shows there were more than 276 million prescription pain pills supplied to Delaware between 2006 to 2012.

A spokesperson from Delaware’s Department of Justice says the state’s ongoing lawsuit against opioid distributors is based in-part on the now public data.

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