COLUMBIA, S.C. — Each year, SCDHEC releases a comprehensive report about pharmaceutical drug trends across the state. This means, there's a way to track exactly what prescriptions South Carolinians are buying.
Monday, DHEC released the 2022 report, which shows that in past years, drugs like Vicodin were the top dispensed controlled substance in the state, but last year, drugs like Adderall took its place.
New 2022 data from DHEC is showing what types of pharmaceutical drugs South Carolinians are taking the most, which includes the top five, being Adderall, Vicodin, Xanax, Ultram and Ambien.
This data has been tracked through a required medical reporting system via DHEC called PMP local pharmacist Lynn Connelly, with 44 years of experience explains.
"The PMP is called the prescription monitoring program and its been a huge benefit both to us, the pharmacies, as well as the physicians," said Connelly, owner of and pharmacist at Medicine Mart.
DHEC tells News 19 that physicians must check the PMP system before prescribing to make sure a prescription doesn't conflict with others being taken, and that the prescription is not being filled elsewhere already.
"From starting the program to now, we have 2017 data to 2022 and opioids have consistently been decreasing, so you've seen changes in prescribing trends and I think its just important for prescribers to review the report and know the landscape of South Carolina," said Chelsea Townsend, DHEC Prescription Monitoring Program director.
The DHEC report shows that from 2018 to 2022, there's been a 29% increase in Adderall prescriptions filled, specifically with those 35 to 44 years old getting the most prescriptions, that are typically used to treat conditions like ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyper-Activity Disorder.
The report also highlights that in 2022, the number of stimulant drugs like Adderall moved ahead of drugs like Xanax.
DHEC adds in previous years, opiate drugs were the top dispensed in the state, but in 2022, drugs like Adderall were top.
Connelly explains this could be for a few reasons: Possibly because of the pandemic hindering manufacturing.
"It could be people that have been staying at home during the pandemic and all of a sudden they're trying to go back to work, they're having to think harder, work harder, do things that are out of their comfort zone. They may be using the Adderall as a crutch. They may not do that once they get into their work flow and used to things. I'm hoping that's what the case is," Connelly said.
DHEC explains overall, it's something to just be informed of and keep an eye on.
According to the DEA, the Controlled Substances Act regulates all drugs based on medical use, potential use for abuse, safety or dependence liability.