Aug 5, 2021 - Health

How opioid use across America varies by insurance coverage

Graph showing opiod use by insurance coverage
Data: CDC; Chart: Axios Visuals

Nearly a quarter of U.S. adults with chronic pain had used a prescription opioid in the past three months when surveyed in 2019, according to data published Thursday by the National Center for Health Statistics.

Why it matters: Prescription opioid use for chronic pain management has been associated with an increased risk of misuse, addiction and death — have been the subject of massive class-action lawsuits against opioid manufacturers and distributors.

By the numbers: The findings show 28% of adults with Medicaid and 28% with Medicare had the highest use of prescription opioids.

  • Men and employed adults were less likely to have used a prescription opioid compared with women and unemployed adults, respectively.
  • Adults 45–64 was the highest age group to use prescription opioids at 26%, while usage dropped off among adults aged 65 and over.
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