Opioid use in Missouri on sharp decline (6)

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COLUMBIA - Missouri HealthNet has released new data that shows 60,000 fewer participants are on opioids since 2012.

The press release reflects data of lower opioid usage for the entire state of Missouri.

The number of unique participants prescribed an opioid decreased by 12% in 2019 and is down by 36% since 2012.

According to a comparison of MO HealthNet pharmacy claims data, opioid morphine milligram equivalents dispensed per calendar year dropped by 30 percent in 2019 and 65% since 2012.

"These are significant results and demonstrate how MO HealthNet and enrolled providers are carefully monitoring and making better informed prescribing decisions about opioids to protect the health and safety of every MO HealthNet participant," said MO HealthNet's director Todd Richardson. "This progress is the result of a strong collaboration between the Administration, the General Assembly, and our participating providers. Better prescribing practices, expanded treatment options, and access to alternative therapies are leading to better outcomes for MO HealthNet participants."

One of the pharmacists at Kilgore's Pharmacy said that he has noticed the significant drop.

"We've observed that in our pharmacy. I think a big reason for that is that MO HealthNet has made the criteria to have opioids or pain medicines covered more restrictive," pharmacist Bill Morrissey said. "We've also had in that same time period some changes in the laws regarding pain medicines and how you know if it's an initial prescription, a person is only getting a 7 day supply."

In 2012, MO HealthNet began working with providers to reduce opioid prescriptions and update prescribing practices. MO HealthNet also limited initial opioid prescriptions to seven days or less in 2017.