Prescription opioids played a major role in the current opioid overdose epidemic. High rates of opioid prescribing and dispensing exposed many people to opioids, and high-dose opioid prescriptions (e.g., 90 morphine milligram equivalents [MME] per day) contributed to increases in opioid overdoses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Prevention for States (PfS) program provided funding to jurisdictions (“PfS recipients”) with a high burden of opioid-involved overdoses. This paper examines associations between strategies addressing high-dose opioid prescribing and changes in high-dose opioid dispensing.
Monthly opioid dispensing data (2014-2019) from IQVIA Xponent were analyzed using longitudinal growth models (LGM) to compare high-dose opioid dispensing rates in the 29 jurisdictions that participated in PfS with rates in non-PfS jurisdictions. Additional models examined associations between specific PfS activities and changes in high-dose dispensing among PfS recipients.
High-dose dispensing rates decreased significantly in both PfS and non-PfS jurisdictions from 2014 to 2019. Rates of high-dose opioid dispensing rates in PfS jurisdictions were not significantly different than those in non-PfS jurisdictions (p = 0.07). Among PfS recipients, multiple activities were associated with decreases in high-dose dispensing rates over time, including moving towards real-time prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) reporting (p < 0.001) and implementation of opioid dispensing interventions for insurers/ health systems (p < 0.05).
High-dose opioid dispensing rates decreased throughout the United States from 2014-2019. As the drug epidemic continues to evolve, implementation of prevention activities by state and local partners is important. These findings highlight two potential prevention strategies and activities that jurisdictions can utilize.

Published by Elsevier B.V.