Department Blog

Posted 11/27/2017 by Linda Kesselring

Opioid Prescribing Patterns in the VA

Michael Grasso, MD, PhD, and David Jerrard, MD, in collaboration with Clare Grasso, PhD, from UMBC’s Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, co-authored the article titled "Prescriptions Written for Opioid Pain Medication in the Veterans Health Administration Between 2000 and 2016," which was published in the November/December issue of the Journal of Addiction Medicine (2017;11[6]:483-8). The investigators used a national cohort that documented 2.5 billion outpatient visits, 18.9 million ED visits, and 12.4 million hospital admissions. The number of opioid prescriptions peaked in 2011, when they were written during 5% of outpatient visits and 15% of ED visits. By 2016, opioid prescriptions were down 37% in outpatient clinics and 23% in EDs. Prescriptions for hydrocodone and tramadol increased markedly between 2011 and 2015. Opioid doses in inpatients settings rose until 2015.