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Opioid-Related Deaths Up Despite Boost in Medicaid Treatment

March 5, 2019, 10:43 AM

State Medicaid program spending on medications and treatments for opioid use disorders increased fivefold between 2010 and 2017, especially in states that expanded eligibility under the Affordable Care Act.

But despite the dramatic rise in spending—from $190 million in 2010 to $887.6 million in 2017—opioid-related death rates remain high, according to research from the Urban Institute.

The disparity has state Medicaid officials, researchers, and Congress looking for a solution that will move the needle on reducing mortality. Drug overdose deaths involving any opioids—prescription opioids (and methadone), heroin, and other synthetic narcotics (mainly fentanyl)—rose from 8,048 in 1999 to 47,600 ...

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