Chance of getting prescribed opioids varies by state
In the study, researchers examined private insurance claims data from more than 30,800 patients visiting U.S. emergency departments for an ankle sprain from 2011-2015. All patients included in the study had not filled an opioid prescription within the past six months. Overall, 25 percent of patients received a prescription for an opioid pain medication such as hydrocodone or oxycodone. However, there was wide variation across states, threefold between the low vs. high prescribing states, and at the extremes it was over tenfold, with only 3 percent of patients received an opioid prescription in North Dakota, compared to 40 percent in Arkansas. The authors admit that the extreme variation between the two states could be explained by smaller sample sizes, despite the results being statistically significant. Nevertheless, the overall pattern of variation across states suggests that there is significant room to reduce unnecessary prescribing for this condition.
Updated Sep 11, 2018 at 10:00 AM