Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

VA Health Systems Research

Go to the VA ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR&D Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

Patterns of opioid prescriptions received prior to unintentional prescription opioid overdose death among Veterans.

Moyo P, Zhao X, Thorpe CT, Thorpe JM, Sileanu FE, Cashy JP, Hale JA, Mor MK, Radomski TR, Donohue JM, Hausmann LRM, Hanlon JT, Good CB, Fine MJ, Gellad WF. Patterns of opioid prescriptions received prior to unintentional prescription opioid overdose death among Veterans. Research in social & administrative pharmacy : RSAP. 2019 Aug 1; 15(8):1007-1013.

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


BACKGROUND: Few studies have assessed prescription opioid supply preceding death in individuals dying from unintentional prescription opioid overdoses, or described the characteristics of these individuals, particularly among Veterans. OBJECTIVES: To describe the history of prescription opioid supply preceding prescription opioid overdose death among Veterans. METHODS: In a national cohort of Veterans who filled = 1 opioid prescriptions from the Veterans Health Administration (VA) or Medicare Part D during 2008-2013, we identified deaths from unintentional or undetermined-intent prescription opioid overdoses in 2012-2013. We captured opioid prescriptions using both linked VA and Part D data, and VA data only. RESULTS: Among 1181 decedents, 643 (54.4%) had prescription opioid supply on the day of death, and 735 (62.2%) within 30 days based on linked data, compared to 40.1% and 46.7%, respectively, using VA data alone. Decedents with prescription opioid supply were significantly older and less likely to have alcohol or illicit drugs as co-occurring substances involved in the overdose. Using linked data, 241 (20.4%) decedents lacked prescription opioid supply within a year of death. CONCLUSIONS: Many VA patients who die from prescription opioid overdose receive opioid prescriptions outside VA or not at all. It is important to supplement VA with non-VA data to more accurately measure prescription opioid exposure and improve opioid medication safety.

Questions about the HSR website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.