Interstate Variations in Dispensing of Opioids, 5th Edition

By Dongchun Wang, Vennela Thumula, Te-Chun Liu

July 31, 2019 Related Topics: Physician Dispensing, Rx Drugs and Opioids

This study examines the prevalence and trends in dispensing of opioids in 27 state workers’ compensation systems. It also monitors changes in prescribing patterns of pain medications and non-pharmacologic pain treatments.

The measures are based on nonsurgical claims with more than seven days of lost time with injuries from October 1, 2011, through September 30, 2016, and medical treatment received through March 31, 2018, and paid under workers’ compensation, which captures an average of 24 months of experience.

The 27 states in the study are Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Interstate Variations in Dispensing of Opioids, 5th Edition. Vennela Thumula, Dongchun Wang, and Te-Chun Liu. July 2019. WC-19-26.

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Research Questions:

  • What was the recent trend in the dispensing of opioids in the 27 study states?
  • How did opioid dispensing compare across states?
  • What policy tools are available that might help reduce unnecessary opioid use?
  • How did non-opioid pain treatments change over the same time?
  • In which states were injured workers frequently receiving opioids on a chronic basis, at higher doses, and together with other sedating drugs?

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