Opioid-Related Discharges Support Usefulness of Safety Initiatives

HealthDay News — Prescription opioid-related inpatient and emergency department (ED) discharges have decreased since 2010, while heroin-related discharges have increased sharply since 2008, according to a study published online in Health Affairs.

Dario Tesdesco, PhD, from Stanford University in California, and colleagues examined national trends in inpatient and emergency department discharges for opioid abuse, dependence, and poisoning using data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project for 1997-2014 (inpatient discharges) and for 2006-2014 (ED discharges).

The researchers found that there was an increase in overall opioid-related inpatient and ED discharge rates in the US population. 

Starting in 2010, prescription opioid-related discharges decreased, coinciding with national, state, and local initiatives. There was a sharp increase in heroin-related discharges starting in 2008.

“The decrease in prescription opioid-related discharges gives hope that health care providers, nonmedical first responders, and families are appropriately responding to safety initiatives,” the authors write.

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Tedesco D, Asch SM, Curtin C, et al. Opioid abuse and poisoning: trends in inpatient and emergency department discharges. Health Aff (Millwood). 2017;36(10):1748-1753.