Many disabled Medicare patients are still using prescription opioid painkillers despite the passage of state laws designed to control use of the drugs, HealthDay reports.
A new study finds 45 percent of disabled Medicare beneficiaries were using prescription opioids in 2012, despite the passage of 81 state laws between 2002 and 2012 that were designed to control use of the drugs. Eight percent of disabled Medicare patients got opioids from four or more doctors.
Researchers from the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice analyzed the effects of these state laws on prescription opioid use in a study of 2.2 million disabled Medicare beneficiaries. They found no significant association between state laws and hazardous prescribing patterns, such as very high daily opioid doses and rate of nonfatal overdose.