COLUMBUS -- Ohio patients received 70 million fewer doses of prescription opioids last year versus 2015, according to a report released by the state pharmacy board Wednesday.
The number of such pills dispensed to residents dropped to 631 million, versus 701 million in 2015 and a high of 793 million in '12.
In total, those patients also received more than 1 million fewer prescriptions for painkillers, to 10.1 million in 2016 from 11.2 million in 2015. There were also fewer prescribers of opioids and fewer patients receiving the pills.
It was the fourth straight year of declines.
The findings were included in the Ohio Automated RX Reporting System 2016 Annual Report, which reviewed prescription activity over the past decade.
State officials have worked to clamp down on the number of prescription painkillers provided to Ohioans, noting that the opioids often serve as a gateway to heroin addiction. The policy changes have led to an increase in queries through the state database that tracks prescriptions and a decrease in the number of individuals seeking out painkiller prescriptions from multiple doctors.
"Ohio has one of the most comprehensive approaches to address the responsible prescribing of opioid pain relievers," Tracy Plouck, director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, said in a released statement. "The progress shown in these data illustrate that our partnership with prescribers is helping to reduce opportunities for prescription opioid misuse and addiction."