Researchers have discovered that medical services for people with opioid dependence diagnoses skyrocketed more than 3,000 percent between 2007 and 2014.
The researchers used de-identified claims data from insurers representing 150 million privately insured patients, looking for diagnosis codes related to opioid dependency and abuse, adverse effects of heroin use, and problems caused by the misuse or abuse of other types of opiates.
The analysis found:
- In the period 2007-2014, opioid dependence rose by 3,203%.
- Opioid abuse rose less sharply, by 317%.
- Younger patients — 19 to 35 — were most likely to be diagnosed as opioid dependent compared to other age groups.
- Across all age groups, men were more likely than women to be diagnosed with dependency. That gap narrowed among patients in their 40s and 50s, with women representing 45% of those diagnosed.
- Women were more likely than men to experience an overdose.
- The ratio of opioid dependence to other substance abuse problems varied by state. Rhode Island had the highest while Maine and Montana the lowest.