ER Visits Resulting in Opioid Prescriptions on the Decline

    Doctors are prescribing opioids to emergency department patients at discharge less often, a new study finds.

    “Opioids may be an effective treatment for chronic and acute pain when properly used. However, receiving an opioid prescription in the emergency department (ED) has been identified as a potential risk factor for long-term use,” the researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wrote.

    They found ED doctors sent patients home with opioids 8% of the time in 2019-2020, compared with 12% in 2017-2018, Axios reports. Opioids were prescribed at discharge at 36.4 emergency department visits per 1,000 adults in 2019 to 2020 compared with 50.5 emergency department visits in 2017 to 2018. The study found commercially insured patients were most likely to be given an opioid prescription at discharge.

    In 2010-2011, 21.5% of ER discharges included an opioid prescription.


    January 2023