August 17, 2020
Over the past two decades, opioid overdose mortality nationwide more than doubled from 21,000 deaths in 2000 to 47,000 deaths in 2017. In a new study of Medicaid enrollees, a team of LDI fellows sheds light on the degree to which new or repeated overdoses may be driving this trend—with significant implications for overdose reduction.
In the study, current and former fellows Francesco DeMayo, Mark Neuman, Sean Hennessy, Young Hee Nam, and Penn Medicine's Warren Bilker found that opioid overdoses did not increase among new users of prescription opioids in four states (CA, FL, NY, PA), even as nationwide overdoses increased. Their findings suggest that the growing number of opioid overdoses among Medicaid enrollees may have largely been driven by repeated overdoses.