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A spatial analysis of opioid prescribing across England has found that deprivation was strongly associated with prescribing. The study, published in the journal of Epidemiology and Communality Health today, points to how people living in towns and cities that are typically divided by deprivation, are also divided by opioid use.

Knowing where exactly which populations are being prescribed more is a powerful way to guide policy responses and interventions so they can allocate resources to areas with highest levels of opioid prescribing.”
- Magdalena Nowakowska, SPCR PhD student at the University of Manchester

Key points highlighted by the press release from the University of Manchester:

  •  Prescribing in the most deprived areas in North England was 1.2 times higher than the national average for areas with similar deprivation levels and 3.3 times higher than the most deprived areas in London.
  • Prescribing in the most deprived areas was substantially higher than the least deprived areas.  On average it was 9.70 Defined Daily Doses/1000 people/day higher.
  • In the most unequal Clinical Commissioning Group area, prescribing in the most deprived areas was twice that of the least deprived areas.

“Much is known about increasing opioid prescribing and opioid-related deaths, but this study adds greater understanding of its association with deprivation”, said Professor Evan Kontopantelis.

Publication: Association of socioeconomic deprivation with opioid prescribing in primary care in England: a spatial analysis

Press release from the University of Manchester: England's deprivation divide on opioid prescribing revealed

Press release from BMJ: