[Infographic] The Startling Effects of the Opioid Epidemic

[Infographic] The Startling Effects of the Opioid Epidemic

Statistics and Trends for Healthcare Providers: What to Know and How to Help

By Dave Sellers

What is the U.S. Opioid Epidemic?
(as defined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

In the late 1990s, pharmaceutical companies reassured the medical community that patients would not become addicted to opioid pain relievers and healthcare providers began to prescribe them at greater rates. Increased prescription of opioid medications led to widespread misuse of both prescription and non-prescription opioids before it became clear that these medications could indeed be highly addictive. In 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared the opioid crisis to be a public health emergency.

Our infographic shares statistics and trends resulting from this crisis and is based on <our all-payer claims data(APCD), highlighting the time period of Q3 2015 to Q2 2018. Many of these trends are both startling and very concerning. For instance, during this nearly three year time frame:

  • There were more than 18k opioid-related claims per day

  • There has been a slight increase (7.5%) in the number of patients who received opioid-related care in conjunction with other drug dependence or abuse of substances

  • The most impacted age group was the 18-44 demographic

Click-to-Tweet: Did you know? There were 18k opioid-related claims per day from 2015-2017?

On a positive note, the rate of increase in the number of opioid-related claims is starting to show signs of slowing. The growth rate through the first half of 2018 is less than 1%. For more insights, see the full infographic below. Feel free to download and spread the about these trends.

Download the Infographic



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Behind the Curtain: Dataset Details

For our analysis of opioid usage, we used the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) listing of opioid-centric ICD diagnosis codes and our APCD. A notable potential gap to consider with APCD data—this data is coming from processed claims and will not include any self-pay or charity care. With opioid usage being commonly linked to individuals of lower socioeconomic statuses, who are often under or uninsured, our use rates may be understated. The insights are based on a rolling three-year period from Q3 2015 to Q2 2018, from the total universe of 3.69B (both opioid and non-opioid-related) all-payer claims data.

Additional information on this topic is also available from CMS and the CDC:


The Takeaway

What can hospitals and healthcare providers do to help? Here are a few suggestions:

  • This toolkit, released by the AHA, provides guidance and information to hospitals and health systems on how they can partner with patients, clinicians and communities to address the opioid epidemic.

  • Consider conducting a local market study to uncover the specific needs and concerns that need to be addressed in your area. Then, create an action plan and detailed strategy for how to respond in a way that is unique to the needs of your community. Schedule a discovery call today to learn more about Stratasan’s market study and action plan offering.


Infographic by Dave Sellers, Data Specialist for Stratasan

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