Pharmacotherapy for Opioid Use Disorder (POD)

Assesses the percentage of opioid use disorder (OUD) pharmacotherapy treatment events among members age 16 and older that continue for at least 180 days (6 months).

Why It Matters

In 2020, over 2.7 million U.S. residents 12 years of age and older had an OUD.1 The same year, more than 93,300  deaths were due to drug overdose; of those, 74% involved an opioid.2

Pharmacotherapy has been identified as a critical part of treatment for individuals with OUD. A gap in treatment currently exists: Estimates suggest that less than 40% of U.S. residents over 12 with an OUD diagnosis receive pharmacotherapy.3 Encouraging pharmacotherapy is critical because individuals with OUD who engage in treatment with pharmacotherapy are less likely to exhibit withdrawal or craving symptoms and use illicit opioids, and are more likely to remain in treatment and engage in mental health therapy.4,5

Results – National Averages

Pharmacotherapy for Opioid Use Disorder (Total)

Measurement YearCommercial HMOCommercial PPOMedicaid HMOMedicare HMOMedicare PPO


  1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 2021. Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. PEP21-07-01-003, NSDUH Series H-56). Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Retrieved from
  2. CDC. National Center for Health Statistics. 2021. Drug Overdose Deaths in the U.S. Up Nearly 30% in 2020.
  3. Wu, L.T., H. Zhu, and M.S. Swartz. 2016. “Treatment Utilization Among Persons With Opioid Use Disorder in the United States.” Drug and Alcohol Dependence 169, 117–27.
  4. NIDA. 2016. Effective Treatments for Opioid Addiction.
  5. Connery, H.S. 2015. “Medication-Assisted Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder: Review of the Evidence and Future Directions.” Harvard Review of Psychiatry 23(2):63–75. doi: 10.1097/HRP.0000000000000075.

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