New RUHRC brief shows trends in Medicare-Paid Naloxone in Rural vs. Metropolitan Areas

Posted: May 25, 2021

The Rural & Underserved Health Research Center (RUHRC) has published a new brief, "Medicare-Paid Naloxone: Trends in Non-Metropolitan and Metropolitan Areas."  

Download the brief here 

Figure 1 (below):  Medicare-paid naloxone dispensing rate per 1,000 enrollees in Medicare Part D in non-metropolitan and metropolitan areas in the U.S., 2015-2018.

Some key findings from this brief include:

  • Medicare pays for the largest share (>30%) of naloxone dispensed from retail pharmacies in non-metropolitan areas.
  • Medicare-paid dispensing has grown since 2013, but from 2017-2018 dispensing growth in non-metropolitan areas slowed considerably compared to metropolitan areas (42% v 121%, respectively).
  • As of 2018, the rate of naloxone dispensing to Medicare enrollees in metropolitan areas was approximately double that in non-metropolitan areas (4.9 v 2.9 per 1,000 enrollees, respectively).
  • In July 2020, RUHRC researchers published the following journal article related to opioids in the Journal of Rural Health: Variation in Abuse‐Deterrent Formulation Opioid Prescribing in California, Florida, and Kentucky in 2018

Learn more about the RUHRC's current projects related to naloxone and substance use on the RUHRC website.

This project was supported by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under cooperative agreement # U1CRH30041. The information, conclusions and opinions expressed in this newsletter are those of the RUHRC and no endorsement by FORHP, HRSA, HHS, or the University of Kentucky is intended or should be inferred.