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1.
J Rural Health ; 2022 Feb 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1714257

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the US DEA allowed controlled substance prescriptions to be issued following a telemedicine encounter. This study evaluated changes in opioid prescribing in Kentucky counties with low and high rates of broadband subscription before, during, and after a series of statewide emergency declarations that may have affected health care access. METHODS: The study used the prescription drug monitoring program to analyze records of opioid analgesic prescriptions dispensed to opioid-naïve individuals in high (N = 26) and low (N = 94) broadband access counties during 3 periods: before a state of emergency (SOE) and executive order (EO) limiting nonemergent health care services (January 2019-February 2020), while the EO was active (March-April 2020), and after health care services began reopening (May-December 2020). Marginal generalized estimating equations-type negative binomial models were fit to compare prescription counts by broadband access over the 3 periods. FINDINGS: Rates of opioid dispensing to opioid-naïve individuals decreased significantly during the EO, but increased nearly to pre-SOE levels after health care services began reopening. Dispensing rates in low broadband counties were higher than those in high broadband counties during all time periods, although these differences were negligible after adjusting for potential confounders. During the EO, prescriptions were written for longer days' supply in both county types. CONCLUSIONS: The overall dramatic reduction in opioid prescribing rates should be considered when evaluating annual opioid prescribing trends. However, broadband subscription rate did not appear to influence opioid prescriptions dispensed in Kentucky during the EO.

2.
Public Health Rep ; 136(1_suppl): 72S-79S, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1495836

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: Traditional public health surveillance of nonfatal opioid overdose relies on emergency department (ED) billing data, which can be delayed substantially. We compared the timeliness of 2 new data sources for rapid drug overdose surveillance-emergency medical services (EMS) and syndromic surveillance-with ED billing data. METHODS: We used data on nonfatal opioid overdoses in Kentucky captured in EMS, syndromic surveillance, and ED billing systems during 2018-2019. We evaluated the time-series relationships between EMS and ED billing data and syndromic surveillance and ED billing data by calculating cross-correlation functions, controlling for influences of autocorrelations. A case example demonstrates the usefulness of EMS and syndromic surveillance data to monitor rapid changes in opioid overdose encounters in Kentucky during the COVID-19 epidemic. RESULTS: EMS and syndromic surveillance data showed moderate-to-strong correlation with ED billing data on a lag of 0 (r = 0.694; 95% CI, 0.579-0.782; t = 9.73; df = 101; P < .001; and r = 0.656; 95% CI, 0.530-0.754; t = 8.73; df = 101; P < .001; respectively) at the week-aggregated level. After the COVID-19 emergency declaration, EMS and syndromic surveillance time series had steep increases in April and May 2020, followed by declines from June through September 2020. The ED billing data were available for analysis 3 months after the end of a calendar quarter but closely followed the trends identified by the EMS and syndromic surveillance data. CONCLUSION: Data from EMS and syndromic surveillance systems can be reliably used to monitor nonfatal opioid overdose trends in Kentucky in near-real time to inform timely public health response.


Subject(s)
Analgesics, Opioid/poisoning , Drug Overdose/epidemiology , Emergency Medical Services/statistics & numerical data , Opioid-Related Disorders/epidemiology , Population Surveillance/methods , Public Health Surveillance/methods , Sentinel Surveillance , Analgesics, Opioid/administration & dosage , COVID-19/epidemiology , Drug Overdose/prevention & control , Emergencies/epidemiology , Emergency Medical Services/trends , Humans , Kentucky/epidemiology , Pandemics , Public Health , SARS-CoV-2
3.
Drug Alcohol Depend ; 228: 108977, 2021 11 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1372960

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Although national syndromic surveillance data reported declines in emergency department (ED) visits after the declaration of the national stay-at-home order for COVID-19, little is known whether these declines were observed for suspected opioid overdose. METHODS: This interrupted time series study used syndromic surveillance data from four states participating in the HEALing Communities Study: Kentucky, Massachusetts, New York, and Ohio. All ED encounters for suspected opioid overdose (n = 48,301) occurring during the first 31 weeks of 2020 were included. We examined the impact of the national public health emergency for COVID-19 (declared on March 14, 2020) on trends in ED encounters for suspected opioid overdose. RESULTS: Three of four states (Massachusetts, New York and Ohio) experienced a statistically significant immediate decline in the rate of ED encounters for suspected opioid overdose (per 100,000) after the nationwide public health emergency declaration (MA: -0.99; 95 % CI: -1.75, -0.24; NY: -0.10; 95 % CI, -0.20, 0.0; OH: -0.33, 95 % CI: -0.58, -0.07). After this date, Ohio and Kentucky experienced a sustained rate of increase for a 13-week period. New York experienced a decrease in the rate of ED encounters for a 10-week period, after which the rate began to increase. In Massachusetts after a significant immediate decline in the rate of ED encounters, there was no significant difference in the rate of change for a 6-week period, followed by an immediate increase in the ED rate to higher than pre-COVID levels. CONCLUSIONS: The heterogeneity in the trends in ED encounters between the four sites show that the national stay-at-home order had a differential impact on opioid overdose ED presentation in each state.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Drug Overdose , Opiate Overdose , Analgesics, Opioid , Drug Overdose/epidemiology , Emergency Service, Hospital , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
4.
Drug Alcohol Depend ; 214: 108176, 2020 09 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-640296

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Individuals with opioid use disorder may be at heightened risk of opioid overdose during the COVID-19 period of social isolation, economic distress, and disrupted treatment services delivery. This study evaluated changes in daily number of Kentucky emergency medical services (EMS) runs for opioid overdose between January 14, 2020 and April 26, 2020. METHODS: We evaluated the statistical significance of the changes in the average daily EMS opioid overdose runs in the 52 days before and after the COVID-19 state of emergency declaration, March 6, 2020. RESULTS: Kentucky EMS opioid overdose daily runs increased after the COVID-19 state emergency declaration. In contrast, EMS daily runs for other conditions leveled or declined. There was a 17% increase in the number of EMS opioid overdose runs with transportation to an emergency department (ED), a 71% increase in runs with refused transportation, and a 50% increase in runs for suspected opioid overdoses with deaths at the scene. The average daily EMS opioid overdose runs with refused transportation increased significantly, doubled to an average of 8 opioid overdose patients refusing transportation every day during the COVID-19-related study period. CONCLUSIONS: This Kentucky-specific study provides empirical evidence for concerns that opioid overdoses are rising during the COVID-19 pandemic and calls for sharing of observations and analyses from different regions and surveillance systems with timely data collection (e.g., EMS data, syndromic surveillance data for ED visits) to improve our understanding of the situation, inform proactive response, and prevent another big wave of opioid overdoses in our communities.


Subject(s)
Analgesics, Opioid/poisoning , Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections , Drug Overdose/epidemiology , Emergency Medical Services/statistics & numerical data , Opioid-Related Disorders/epidemiology , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral , COVID-19 , Data Collection , Emergency Service, Hospital , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
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