Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey Reports Decreases in Opioid Prescriptions

The opioid epidemic continues to claim the lives of New Jersey residents at a tragic rate, but there are signs of improvement in addressing the crisis that could result in many lives being saved in the coming years.

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, the state’s largest health insurance carrier, reported a 30 percent decrease in the total number of opioid prescriptions filled for commercial policy holders from 2013 to 2017. Horizon also saw significant decreases for Medicare clients (14 percent) and Medicaid clients (20 percent) during that time.

The number of Horizon commercial members who filled at least one opioid prescription dropped from 18 percent in 2013 to 13 percent in 2017, a 28 percent decrease.

Horizon also reported that 62 percent of people taking opioids used them for seven days or fewer, up 7 percent from 2013. Reducing the length of use of opioids is vitally important, because people who use opioids for eight days or more are 13.5 percent more likely to be addicted a year later, according to a CDC study.

All of these stats point to one conclusion: New Jersey residents as a whole are being exposed to fewer opioids and for shorter periods of time. Decreasing the usage of prescription opioids will help prevent more people from developing an addiction in the future.

In 2017, the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey along with Horizon Foundation for New Jersey launched a series of town halls to educate New Jersey residents on the opioid crisis. The award-winning Knock Out Opioid Abuse Town Hall Series featuring town halls for all 21 counties in the state brought together more than 13,000 New Jersey residents in every county and provided them with a comprehensive understanding of the causes and effects of the opioid epidemic. The events included participation from county prosecutors, state legislators, doctors and professionals from the prevention, treatment and recovery fields.

We are proud to partner with Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey in addressing the opioid epidemic in this state and look forward to our continued collaborations and successes.

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