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Lonhala Magnair

Opioid Use Among Older Adults

In 2015-2016, 19.3% of elderly adults, on average, filled at least one outpatient opioid prescription, and 7.1% obtained four or more prescription fills during the year.

Elderly adults who were poor (9.5%) or low income (11.3%) were more likely than middle-income (6.8%) and high-income (4.5%) elderly adults to obtain four or more opioid prescription fills during the year.

In 2015-2016, the average annual rates of any outpatient opioid use increased as health status declined, ranging from 8.8% for those in excellent health to 39.4% for those in poor health. Similarly, rates of frequent use increased from 1.6% to 21.8% as health status declined from excellent to poor.

Elderly adults with Medicare and other public insurance coverage were more likely to fill at least one opioid prescription (24.4%) and to have four or more opioid prescription fills (11.2%) than those with Medicare only (18.8% and 7.6%) and those with Medicare and private insurance coverage (18.9% and 6.1%).

For more info, see Moriya, A.S., & Miller, G.E. (2018). Any use and frequent use of opioids among elderly adults in 2015-2016, by socioeconomic characteristics. Statistical Brief #515. Rockville, MD: Agency for Health Care Policy and Research.


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