More than 27,000 Medicaid patients in New Hampshire were prescribed opioids from 2010 to 2013, with more than half receiving the drugs from a single healthcare provider, and 80% filling just one prescription. However, hundreds of beneficiaries obtained opioids from six or more prescribers in a single year. Opioid addiction has claimed more than 550 lives in the state since January 2014. Medicaid beneficiaries are twice as likely to receive prescription narcotics then non-Medicaid patients, and account for a significant amount of opioid use in New Hampshire. According to data on eight common painkillers prescribed from 2010 to 2103:
- A total of 220,643 opioid prescriptions were written by more than 7,200 doctors, nurses and other providers;
- 14.6 million individual doses were prescribed, 70% of which contained oxycodone;
- Medicaid spent $15.7 million on prescription painkillers; and
- Spending on the anti-addiction drug buprenorphine increased 23%, to $2.3 million in 2013.
The data predates New Hampshire's prescription-drug monitoring program, which went live a year ago and allows a patient's history of opioid prescriptions to be shared electronically by doctors, nurses and pharmacists.