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More Opioids Given Than Prescribed in Emergency Department

FRIDAY, May 31, 2019 -- The rate of emergency department visits with opioids only given during the visit is higher than the rate for visits with opioids only prescribed at discharge and for visits with opioids given and prescribed, according to a May data brief published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics.

Pinyao Rui, M.P.H., and Susan M. Schappert, from the National Center for Health Statistics in Hyattsville, Maryland, compared the rates and percentages of emergency department visits for adults at which opioids were given, prescribed, or both.

The researchers found that in 2016, opioids were only given during emergency department visits, were only prescribed at discharge, and were given during the visit and at discharge for 53.4, 38.4, and 35.4 visits per 1,000 adults, respectively. For emergency department visits when opioids were given at the visit, prescribed at discharge, or both, those paid by private insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid were most likely to only give opioids during the visit. For emergency department visits when opioids were given at the visit, prescribed at discharge, or both, visits primarily for trauma were most likely to have opioids only prescribed at discharge.

"The rate of visits where opioids were only given at the emergency department visit, compared with visits where opioids were only prescribed at discharge, or were both given and prescribed, was higher among patients aged 45 and over and for both women and men," the authors write.

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Posted: May 2019

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