Medicare Going In ‘Right Direction’ On Opioid Epidemic

(By Martha Bebinger, WBUR for Kaiser Health News)

Prescriptions for two drugs used to treat opioid addiction increased significantly from 2016 to 2018 for people on Medicare, according to a federal report out Wednesday.

About 174,000 Medicare beneficiaries received such a medication — either buprenorphine or naltrexone — to help them with recovery in 2018, according to the Office of Inspector General in the Department of Health and Human Services.

In addition, prescriptions for naloxone, the drug that can reverse an opioid overdose, spiked since 2016, rising 501% ― and that is likely an underestimate because it doesn’t include doses of the nasal spray Medicare members might have received through local programs, the OIG said.  Continue reading article here…

Kaiser Health News is a nonprofit national health policy news service that is part of the nonpartisan Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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