COVID-19 presented the health care system with many challenges in 2020, but one of the most sobering was the impact on opioid misuse.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said earlier this month that more than 93,000 Americans died from a drug overdose in 2020. This represents a 29% increase compared to 2019. Only two states, New Hampshire and South Dakota, reported a decrease in drug overdose deaths.

According to CDC data, opioids represent the largest percentage of drug overdose deaths in 2020, at nearly 70,000. Meanwhile, a recent National Institute on Drug Abuse analysis estimated that more than 20% of these deaths involved prescription opioids. Beyond the increase in overdose deaths, a recent American Medical Association report concluded that every state faced concerns about access to care for substance use disorder and harm-reduction services in 2020.

Against this sobering backdrop, the PBM Navitus Health Solutions has added a predictive analytics product to its Opioid Safety Solutions offering. The product, Predictive Analytics for the Misuse of Opioids (PAMO), generates member-specific risk scores to help prescribers identify who may be at risk of opioid misuse and recommend non-opioid treatment options.

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