1 Pennsylvania ZIP code saw 885% hike in buprenorphine use

The 155 ZIP code, which encompasses Somerset, Pa., noted an 885 percent increase in hospitals and pharmacies dispensing one opioid use disorder treatment from 2010 to 2020, one study found. 

In Pennsylvania overall, the distribution of buprenorphine rose 217 percent from a decade prior, according to research published Dec. 28 The Guthrie Journal. Buprenorphine is often used alongside naloxone to treat opioid use disorder, and its use differed between ZIP codes. The 155 ZIP code was the largest increase while the 190 ZIP code, which includes Philadelphia, reported the smallest change, which was up 79 percent. 

Pittsburgh's ZIP codes saw a 228 percent increase. 

Three ZIP code hot spots — 155 (Somerset) with an 855 percent hike, 169 (Wellsboro) with a 739 percent increase and 177 (Williamsport) with a 633 percent boost — are among the least densely populated areas of the state. This fits the nationwide trend of more buprenorphine dispensing in rural areas compared to urban locations. 

"Further pharmacoepidemiological research is needed to continue to characterize, and ideally remediate, the pronounced regional variation in buprenorphine distribution," the researchers wrote in their conclusion.

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