BROWSE CASE STUDIES Case Studies > Patterns of Opioid Prescribing in Minnesota: 2012 and 2015

Patterns of Opioid Prescribing in Minnesota: 2012 and 2015

April 2018


Consumers, Employers, Providers, Researchers, Population Health


Utilization, Pharmacy, Commercial, Medicaid, Medicare


Karl Fernstrom

The Minnesota Department of Health, Health Economics Program, using 2012 and 2015 data from the MN APCD, produced a brief looking at the rates of opioid prescribing in Minnesota. Key findings of the study include:
- Overall rates of opioid prescribing declined in Minnesota from 2012 to 2015, but the morphine milligram equivalents (MME) per prescription increased.
- Medicare and Medicaid, where eligibility is determined by age, disability status, and/or income, covered approximately one-third of Minnesotans with general health coverage and accounted for two-thirds of opioid prescriptions filled in 2015.
- Nearly one in three Minnesotans with an opioid prescription in 2015 had multiple prescribers.
- In both 2012 and 2015, 6 in 10 opioid prescriptions were filled within 15 days of the patient’s last medical visit; however, 1 in 10 opioid prescriptions were filled without a medical visit in the past 90 days, suggesting closer patient-prescriber communication or opioid oversight may be needed in some cases.
- Prescription opioid use varied across counties. In some counties, prescription opioid use in 2015 was over 3 times the statewide average of 523 MME per resident.