WaPo: Kentucky Drugstore Led Nation In Per Capita Opioid Supply

Aug 12, 2019

A drugstore in Kentucky obtained more opioid pills on a per person basis per county than any other retail pharmacy in the country between 2006 and 2012., according to reporting by the Washington Post.

In this photo made on Monday, June 18, 2018, shows Hydrocodone Acetaminophen pills in Zelienople, Pa.
Credit AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

The Post found that, in that time, Shearer Drug in Clinton County procured nearly 6.8 million pills containing hydrocodone and oxycodone, enough to distribute nearly 100 doses to every person in the county of roughly 10,000 residents. Shearer’s opioid purchases reportedly shot up by 55 percent between 2006 and and the end of 2012.

The data come from the Post’s analysis of a federal database, the DEA’s Automation of Reports and Consolidated Orders System, which keeps tabs on every painkiller distributed nationwide.

The Post reports nearly half of the opioids handed out over the seven-year period were purchased by just 15 percent of drugstores. The news outlet looked at the total number of pills that contained either hydrocodone or oxycodone, and "other metrics, such as year-over-year orders and overdose death rates in the counties where the pharmacies are located."

Kentucky recently reported its first drop in overdose deaths since 2013, with data showing a nearly 15% drop from a record 1,566 deaths the previous year.