Systematic Evaluation of State Policy Interventions Targeting the US Opioid Epidemic, 2007-2018

Question  Are US state drug policies associated with variation in opioid misuse, opioid use disorder, and drug overdose mortality?

Findings  In this cross-sectional study of state-level drug overdose mortality data and claims data from 23 million commercially insured patients in the US between 2007 and 2018, state policies were associated with a reduction in known indicators of prescription opioid misuse as well as deaths from prescription opioid overdose and increases in diagnosis of opioid use disorder, overdose, and drug overdose mortality from illicit drugs.

Meaning  Although existing state-level drug policies have been associated with a decrease in the misuse of prescription opioids, these policies may have had the unintended consequence of motivating those with opioid use disorders to switch to alternative illicit substances, inducing higher overdose mortality.

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