DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa is on track to see a 10 percent decline of opioid sales for 2017 amid national concerns about the abuse of such prescriptions.

The executive director of the Iowa Board of Pharmacy, Andrew Funk, relayed the information on Monday to a legislative committee studying opioid abuse, The Des Moines Register reported.

Funk said Iowa health care practitioners are trimming prescriptions of opioid painkillers and other addictive pills. He said the state is expected to reach about 270 million prescription pills sold for 2017, down from 301 million pills sold last year.

Funk said this year’s total still comes to 90 pills for each man, woman and child in the state.

The totals are determined by Iowa’s Prescription Drug Monitoring system, which tracks pharmacies’ sales of addictive prescription medications.

Committee members said the figures are a promising development amid a national epidemic of abuse of addictive narcotics.

Rep. David Heaton, a Mount Pleasant Republican who co-chairs the committee, said it’s too soon to determine if the reduction in prescriptions made a big difference.

“People are still dying,” he said.

About 200 Iowa residents died last year of overdoses related to opioids, including prescription pills and heroin, state experts said

Experts nationwide have urged doctors, nurse practitioners and dentists to be selective in prescribing painkilling pills. They want health care professionals to consider other methods of pain control; limit the number of pills given in each prescription order; and watch for signs that patients might be becoming addicted to their medications.


Information from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com