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August 23, 2023 Research Highlights

Many State Medicaid Programs Still Require Prior Authorization for Buprenorphine Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder

The opioid epidemic has been an ongoing public health crisis in the United States, claiming countless lives and devastating communities. Buprenorphine, a highly effective medication for the treatment of opioid use disorders, holds the potential to save lives. However, a significant hurdle exists in the form of prior authorization requirements, which are associated with lower access to […]

August 22, 2023 Policy Watch

LDI Experts Analyze the New U.S. Plan to Target Xylazine-Laced Fentanyl

The lethal mixture of xylazine and fentanyl, also known as Tranq dope, may sound unfamiliar to many, but its impact is harming people who use drugs nationwide. Xylazine, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for veterinary use as a sedative, has become a major component in the illicit drug trade. When consumed by humans, xylazine causes […]

February 16, 2023 Policy Watch

Will States and Counties Spend Their National Opioid Settlements Effectively?

As $54 billion in National Opioid Settlement funds begin moving out toward states, counties, and municipalities, there is widespread concern among health authorities that the legal victory does not become a repeat of the 1998 mega-billion-dollar Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement fiasco in which most states used the money for just about everything except tobacco cessation […]

March 17, 2022 Collaborations

Why Does the Opioid Mortality Rate Continue to Rise?

From April 2020 through April 2021, there were 100,300 drug overdose deaths across the country according to the CDC — a 28.5% increase over the previous year. Some 75% of these were opioid-related overdoses that killed an average of nine users an hour around the clock throughout the year. Looking forward, the just-published Stanford-Lancet Commission on […]

February 2, 2022 Collaborations

Advancing Evidence-Based Substance Use Disorder Treatment Policies

If you want to reform state laws to require detox facilities to include medications like buprenorphine and methadone in their treatments, you should start by changing the “hearts and minds” of those who oppose it, Rebekah Gee, MD, MPH, MHSPR, told the January 14, 2022 Penn LDI/CHERISH Virtual Conference at the University of Pennsylvania. Keynoting a gathering organized […]

January 20, 2022 Policy Watch

Lowering the Barriers to Medication Treatment for People with Opioid Use Disorder

Overdose deaths have reached unprecedented levels in the U.S., despite effective medications to treat opioid use disorders (OUDs). Because the regulatory and administrative barriers to treatment are high, only about 11% of people with OUD receive effective medications, which include buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone. In response, clinicians and advocates have looked to a “low-threshold” approach […]

September 11, 2019 Collaborations

Achieving Value in Substance Use Disorder Treatment: Paying for What Works (and Not Paying for What Doesn’t): Workshop Summary

More than 100 policymakers, practitioners, and researchers discussed and debated how payment policy can promote evidence-based, cost-effective substance use disorder treatment, in a recent workshop hosted by the Center for Health Economics of Treatment Interventions for Substance Use Disorder, HCV and HIV (CHERISH) and the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the University of […]

July 26, 2019 Collaborations

CHERISH Workshop Addresses an ‘Unfortunate Reality’ of the Addiction Treatment Industry

Funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and established in 2015, CHERISH is a five year collaboration of researchers from the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (LDI) of the University of Pennsylvania, Weill Cornell Medical College, Boston Medical Center, and the University of Miami. Their work is focused on studying the health economics […]

August 17, 2018 Collaborations

Treating Pregnant and Parenting Women with Opioid Use Disorder and Their Infants

The opioid epidemic carries with it another epidemic, this one of infants born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), stemming from in utero exposure to opioids. NAS is characterized by withdrawal symptoms such as tremors, irritability, poor feeding, respiratory distress, and seizures.  In a recent day-long course at Penn sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services […]

June 19, 2018

LDI Awarded Grant to Study Payment Policies for Opioid Use Disorder

A Penn LDI-Shatterproof Collaboration The University of Pennsylvania’s Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (LDI) has received a grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF), in partnership with Shatterproof, to study the logistics and policies related to the public and private insurance industry’s coverage of opioid use disorder treatment. LDI is Penn’s hub of […]

February 5, 2018 Research Highlights

Association between Electronic Medical Record Implementation of Default Opioid Prescription Quantities and Prescribing Behavior in Two Emergency Departments

Key Findings Setting a low quantity of opioid tablets as the default option in electronic medical record prescribing orders may “nudge” clinicians to prescribe fewer opioids. When two emergency departments implemented a 10-tablet default instead of a manual entry, the proportion of 10-tablet prescriptions written more than doubled, from 20.6% to 43.3%. Conversely, 20-tablet prescriptions […]

November 13, 2017 Policy Watch

Insurers Make Historic Commitment to Improve Access and Quality of Treatment for Substance Use Disorders

In a groundbreaking announcement, 12 large insurers, covering over 240 million lives, pledged to adopt eight evidence-based “National Principles of Care” for the treatment of substance use disorder (SUD). The initiative is designed to improve care for the 21 million Americans who have an SUD, only 11% of whom receive any treatment at all. The […]

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