Prescribing for Population Health (PPH) is an ongoing series that aims to support ICSs to improve the health of the populations they serve. PPHs use prescribing data, biomedical literature and other data sources to provide new insights.

In recent years, there has been increasing concern regarding the overprescribing of opioids and associated harms. The RDTC has produced a series of publications as part of the Polypharmacy and Overprescribing theme reviewing opioid prescribing:

Each publication includes considerations and interventions for medicines optimisation teams and health systems. To avoid duplication across this series of overprescribing and polypharmacy opioid publications, the suggested actions have only been listed in the most relevant theme but may apply across all. We recommend reading all parts of the series sequentially to ensure the breadth of potential actions are known.

In this first part of the series, the focus is on the patient populations prescribed opioids and the inter-relationships and dependencies between prescribing and the available metrics.

This publication is part of our Strategic Support and Planning contract. To gain access please email us at