Study: 32% of opioid prescriptions are abused in the US

Nationally, 4.5 percent of individuals who have received an opioid prescriptions abuse the medication and account for 32 percent of total opioid prescriptions and 40 percent of opioid prescription spending, according to findings from Castlight Health's report, "The Opioid Crisis in America's Workforce."

The study also found nearly one in three (32 percent) opioid prescriptions, which are subsidized by U.S. employers, is abused. Opioid abusers cost employers nearly twice as much in medical expenses as non-abusers, at $19,450 and $10,853 in annual average costs, respectively.

Certain patient demographics increase the chances of opioid abuse, according to the report.

  • Baby boomers are four times more likely (7.4 percent) to abuse opioids than millennials (2 percent).
  • Patients who live in low-income areas are twice as likely to abuse prescription painkillers as individuals in affluent areas. Additionally, opioid abusers are more likely to live in the rural South; 22 of the top 25 U.S. cities for opioid abuse are primarily rural and located in Southern states.
  • Among the top 30 largest U.S. cities, eight have higher-than-average opioid abuse rates, including Las Vegas (7.4 percent), Charlotte, N.C. (6.2 percent), Kansas City, Mo. (5.1 percent) Portland, Ore. (5.0 percent), Tampa, Fla. (5.0 percent), Indianapolis (4.9 percent), Orlando, Fla. (4.6 percent), and San Antonio (4.6 percent).
  • Among the top 30 largest U.S. cities, eight have a higher percentage of opioid prescriptions abused than the national benchmark of 32 percent. These cities include Charlotte, N.C. (44 percent), Las Vegas (41 percent), Kansas City, Mo. (38 percent), Portland, Ore. (38 percent), Tampa, Fla. (37 percent), Indianapolis (35 percent), Chicago (33 percent), and Dallas (33 percent).

Castlight Health conducted research on opioid abuse based on aggregated reporting from medical and pharmacy-based claims covering nearly 1 million Americans who use Castlight's health benefits program. The study leverages Castlight's medical and pharmacy reporting over the five-year period from 2011 to 2015.

More articles on physician issues:
ACP calls on physicians to combat climate change
'The bread and butter of pediatrics' is declining
51% of physicians view ACA unfavorably and 5 more findings

© Copyright ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2020. Interested in LINKING to or REPRINTING this content? View our policies by clicking here.

 

Featured Webinars

Featured Whitepapers