January 06, 2016

New Report Reveals Record High for Opioid
Overdose Deaths

Claims Management
, Pharmacy
, Network Solutions

According to a recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United States is “experiencing an epidemic of drug overdose deaths.”

Every day in the United States, 44 people die as a result of prescription opioid overdose, according to a 2015 study by the CDC.

Opioid Chart

Here are some more staggering statistics:

  • New numbers from the CDC reveal that over 47,000 people died from drug overdoses in the United States 2000-2014, hitting a record number in 2014.
  • In 2014, 61% of overdose deaths were attributed to some type of opioid.
  • Since 2000, the rate of deaths from drug overdoses has increased 137%, totaling nearly half a million people.

“Natural and semisynthetic opioids, which include the most commonly prescribed opioid pain relievers, oxycodone and hydrocodone, continue to be involved in more overdose deaths than any other opioid type,” according to the report.

The report also identifies a correlation between the number of overdose deaths involving heroin and the increased use of heroin across the country which “has been shown to be closely tied to opioid pain reliever misuse and dependence.”

These numbers are not being taken lightly. The CDC researches behind the report said that the opioid epidemic is worsening according to these recent results.

“There is a need for continued action to prevent opioid abuse, dependence, and death, improve treatment capacity for opioid use disorders, and reduce the supply of illicit opioids, particularly heroin and illicit fentanyl,” the report stated.

Opioids have been a long-standing issue in the workers’ compensation industry. CorVel keeps this in mind and offers several solutions for managing payors’ pharmacy spend and the potential corresponding risks on patients – including addiction. CorVel’s pharmacy solutions deliver total pharmacy benefits management and complete transparency to exposure.

Their unique solution integrates Pharmacy Management, Clinical Modeling and Medical Review Services. With these tools we can quickly spot variances in an injured worker’s prescription usage, triggering our expert panel of clinical pain management physicians to reach out to the treating physician to address issues as soon as they are identified. We can also examine a patient's entire drug history to determine medical necessity, consider alternate medications and treatments and ensure best practices for pain management.