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Yearend Review of Opioid Use in Medicare Part D in 2020

The opioid crisis remains a public health emergency. In 2018, there were nearly 47,000 opioid-related overdose deaths in the United States. Identifying patients who are at-risk of overdose or abuse is key to addressing this crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has made this need even more pressing. The National Institutes of Health recently warned that individuals with opioiduse disorder could be particularly hard hit by COVID-19, which is a respiratory virus that attacks the lungs. Respiratory disease is known to increase mortality risks among people taking opioids. This data brief would provide information on opioid utilization among beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Part D in 2020. It would build on our series of reports, including the recent data snapshot Opioid Use in Medicare Part D During the Onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic (OEI-02-20-00400), which reviewed opioid use in Part D during the first 8 months of 2020. It would provide 2020 data on Part D spending for opioids, and the numbers of beneficiaries who received extreme amounts of opioids through Part D as well as those who appeared to be doctor shopping. It would also identify prescribers who ordered opioids for large numbers of these beneficiaries.

Announced or Revised Agency Title Component Report Number(s) Expected Issue Date (FY)
Completed Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Yearend Review of Opioid Use in Medicare Part D in 2020 Office of Evaluation and Inspections OEI-02-20-00401 2022