Blue Shield of California cuts opioid use among members by 56%

Opioid use among Blue Shield of California members with noncancer pain fell 56 percent since 2014, the health insurer said March 18.

Blue Shield of California launched its narcotic safety initiative in 2015, and has since seen average daily dose among chronic opioid users fall 33 percent. It has also seen the number of members on the highest dose of opioids fall more than 60 percent, and the percent of members prescribed the most dangerous combination of opioid and a benzodiazepine decrease by 24 percent.

Terry Gilliland, MD, Blue Shield of California's senior vice president and chief health officer, said in a prepared statement, "By focusing on evidence-based interventions, working closely with providers, and local and state collaboration, we've been able to help members reduce their risk for harm and accidental overdose and death from prescription opioid use."

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