Opioid Use in Medicare Part D in Missouri
WHY WE DID THIS STUDY
The opioid crisis is a public health emergency. There were 47,600 opioid-related overdose deaths in the United States in 2017. As part of its efforts to address this crisis, OIG has assessed opioid use in Medicare Part D nationwide and in specific areas, such as the Appalachian region. This data brief focuses on Missouri and provides Statewide data of opioid utilization in Medicare Part D. These data are particularly important for Missouri, as it is the only State that does not currently have a Statewide prescription drug monitoring program.
HOW WE DID THIS STUDY
We based this data brief on an analysis of prescription drug event records for opioids that beneficiaries in Missouri received through Part D in in 2018. We determined beneficiaries' morphine equivalent dose, which is a measure that converts all of the various opioids and strengths into one standard value.
WHAT WE FOUND
- Thirty-three percent of Medicare Part D beneficiaries in Missouri received a prescription opioid in 2018. This is higher than the national rate.
- Nearly 10,000 beneficiaries in Missouri received high amounts of opioids through Part D.
- About 1,400 of these Medicare beneficiaries are at serious risk of opioid misuse or overdose.
WHAT WE CONCLUDE
The severity of the national crisis makes it imperative that States, including Missouri, take effective steps to address the epidemic. OIG supports State and Federal efforts to combat the opioid crisis. Notably, OIG supports States' efforts to implement and enforce strong prescription drug monitoring programs that require prescribers and pharmacies to check a database before prescribing and dispensing opioids.