Concerns about the use of opioids in Medicare Part D and the availability of treatment for opioid use disorder have heightened with the onset of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. COVID-19 poses specific dangers for people using opioids, as respiratory diseases like COVID-19 can increase the risk of fatal overdose among those taking opioids and those with opioid use disorder are more likely to contract COVID-19 and suffer complications. It is imperative that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) closely monitor opioid use during this unprecedented time. From 2016 to 2019, Medicare Part D saw a steady decline in opioid use, along with an increased use of drugs for treatment of opioid use disorder. This data snapshot describes opioid use in Part D during the onset of COVID-19, focusing on the first 8 months of 2020. For context, this snapshot also provides data on the first 8 months of 2019.
Tuesday, February 2, 2021
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