Medicaid Expansion Linked to Decline in Opioid Overdose Deaths | Banyan Mass
 

The opioid epidemic has been a continuing problem in the United States.

The national government, states, and local governments have stepped in to try and find solutions, but there is still a long way to go. Opioid addiction treatment programs may help, but not everyone has access to these programs. While there has been much debate over Obama’s Affordable Care Act, one study found that it may have played a positive role in combating the opioid epidemic.

Decrease in Opioid Overdose Deaths in Medicaid Expansion States

A new study has found that in the Medicaid expansion states, the number of opioid overdose deaths also decreased by 6%. Specifically, the research shows an 11% decline in the number of overdoses from heroin as well as a 10% decrease in the number of deaths from fentanyl, a deadly synthetic opioid. 1 These decreases are purportedly partially attributed to the greater access to drug abuse treatment for Medicaid users.

In contrast to the fewer fentanyl and heroin deaths in Medicaid expansion states, the research did also show an increase in the number of methadone-related overdose deaths by 11%.1 Methadone is an opioid often used to treat opioid withdrawal symptoms. Researchers are still trying to determine why overdoses for this particular drug rose instead of decreased like the rest of the opioid drugs.

Opioid Overdose Deaths in Massachusetts

Massachusetts is one of the states that chose to expand Medicaid to cover low-income adults. This state has one of the highest rates of opioid overdose deaths in the nation. With Medicaid expansion linked to a decline in opioid overdose deaths, Massachusetts followed this trend and saw a decrease in the number of heroin overdose deaths by 25% in 2016 and 2017. Unfortunately, Massachusetts did still see an increase in the number of synthetic opioid overdose deaths like fentanyl in the same amount of time.2 While the Medicaid expansion may have worked on heroin, the state still has a long way to go to see real improvements with these numbers.

If you or someone you love is addicted to opioids or other drugs, do not wait until a near overdose to get help. As providers of partial hospitalization programming in Wilmington, we know that overcoming substance abuse is challenging, but you should not have to go it alone.



Call us today at 888-280-4763 to learn more about Banyan Massachusetts and how we may be able to help.


Sources:

  1. JAMA Network - Association of Medicaid Expansion With Opioid Overdose Mortality in the United States
  2. NIH - Massachusetts Opioid Summary
 

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Alyssa
Alyssa
Alyssa is Banyan’s Director of Digital Marketing & Technology. After overcoming her own struggles with addiction, she began working in the treatment field in 2012. She graduated from Palm Beach State College in 2016 with additional education in Salesforce University programs. A part of the Banyan team since 2016, Alyssa brings over 5 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.