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Data Brief: Excessive Use of Opioids in Medicare Part D

Opioid abuse and overdose deaths are at epidemic levels in the United States. In 2015, the number of opioid-related deaths was higher than any previous year, exceeding 33,000 for the first time. Although opioids can be appropriate for some beneficiaries, OIG shares in concerns about opioid misuse, fraud, and abuse in Medicare Part D. Previous OIG work called attention to increased Part D spending for commonly abused opioids. OIG has also highlighted the problem of drug diversion—the redirection of prescription drugs for an illegal purpose, such as recreational use or resale. This data brief builds on OIG’s previous work and includes in-depth analysis of opioid utilization among Medicare Part D beneficiaries. It provides baseline data on the extent to which beneficiaries are receiving extreme amounts of opioids and appear to be doctor shopping. It also identifies prescribers who have questionable opioid prescribing patterns.

Announced or Revised Agency Title Component Report Number(s) Expected Issue Date (FY)
Jun-17 Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Data Brief: Excessive Use of Opioids in Medicare Part D Office of Evaluation and Inspections OEI-02-17-00250 2017

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