US hospital discharges documenting patient opioid use disorder without opioid overdose or treatment services, 2011–2015
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US hospital discharges documenting patient opioid use disorder without opioid overdose or treatment services, 2011–2015

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  • English

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    • Alternative Title:
      J Subst Abuse Treat
    • Description:

      Understanding more about circumstances in which patients receive an opioid use disorder (OUD) diagnosis might illuminate opportunities for intervention and ultimately prevent opioid overdoses. This study aimed to describe patient and clinical characteristics of hospital discharges documenting OUD among patients not being treated for opioid overdose, detoxification, or rehabilitation.


      We assessed patient, payer, and clinical characteristics of nationally-representative 2011–2015 National Inpatient Sample discharges documenting OUD, excluding opioid overdose, detoxification, and rehabilitation. Discharges were clinically classified by Diagnostic Related Group (DRG) for analysis.


      Annual discharges grew 38%, from 347,137 (2011) to 478,260 (2015), totaling 2 million discharges during the study period. The annual discharge rate increased among all racial/ethnic groups, but was highest among the non-Hispanic black population until 2015, when non-Hispanic whites had a slightly higher rate (164 versus 162 per 100,000 population). Female patients and Medicaid and Medicare as primary payer accounted for an increasing annual proportion of discharges. Just 14 DRGs accounted for nearly 50% of discharges over the study period. The most prevalent primary treatment received during OUD inpatient stays was for psychoses (DRG 885; 16% of discharges) and drug and alcohol abuse or dependence symptoms (including withdrawal) or (non-opioid) poisoning (DRG 894, 897, 917, 918; 12% of discharges).


      Now nearly half a million yearly US hospital discharges for a range of primary treatment include patients’ diagnosis of OUD without opioid overdose, detoxification, or rehabilitation services. Inpatient stays present an important opportunity to link OUD patients to treatment to reduce opioid-related morbidity and mortality.

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