This brief was updated March 27, 2019. A link to further Urban research on Medicaid prescriptions for and spending on opioid use disorder was added to page 20.
Prescriptions and spending on Medicaid-covered medications for the treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD) and opioid overdose increased dramatically between 2010 and 2017, based on data through the fourth quarter of 2017. The largest increases occurred after 2014. Yet opioid-related death rates remain high, suggesting that treatment rates for OUD and opioid overdose remain low and are not meeting demand, even among Medicaid expansion states.
Data will be updated quarterly to show long-term trends and up-to-date Medicaid prescribing and spending patterns.