Authored by: Laura Kanov, Senior Vice President, Product Strategy

It’s easy to think that the media or politicians are exaggerating or hyping up the opioid “crisis” for less than noble reasons, but data I’ve seen from the CDC and other sources in researching the topic are shocking. It’s not entirely a street drug problem, nor is it entirely a prescription drug problem. It is a combination of both that needs attacking from multiple sides. The data paint a very bleak picture for our communities, country and future if the situation goes unchecked.

Here is a sampling:

  • 115 people die a day from an opioid overdose [1]
  • It’s the number 1 cause of death for individuals under the age of 50
  • The death rate increased 5-fold from 1999 to 2016
  • 2.4 million Americans have an opioid-use disorder [2]
  • There has been a 10-fold increase in prescriptions of naloxone (an opioid reversal agent) dispensed from retail pharmacies in the U.S. between the fourth quarter of 2013 and the second quarter of 2015 [3]
3 Waves Of The Rise In Opioid Overdose Deaths(click to view Infographic)

It is common practice for emergency responders (including law enforcement, EMS and fire fighters) to carry naloxone [4]- now in larger doses due to the ferociousness of fentanyl on the respiratory system. Employers are experiencing abuse and misuse in the workplace, but when employees have prescriptions for use they are exempt from positive drug test consequences. This is not to say that there aren’t people in pain who need relief. There are. What providers need is a way to help them manage pain that does not lead to an addictive relationship with the pain reliever. What providers need is a way to determine who to be more cautious with when prescribing opioids if there is not an alternative, and who among those may need co-prescribing naloxone, family counseling, more education, etc..

At HBI Solutions, we believe that identifying those individuals at risk for Opioid Abuse is an important component of a targeted strategy for reduction in opioid use, abuse, and avoidable death, and a way to prevent the destruction and emotional pain associated with addiction and loss.

While other solutions help users to understand frequency of diagnosis, provider prescription tendencies and patient prescription fills for analysis, that retrospective view alone misses an important opportunity. To that end, HBI Solutions’ Opioid Abuse predictive model assists care managers, physicians and other stakeholders to understand the risk of abuse in individuals before they prescribe before they’ve been diagnosed with the disorder, before they become another statistic.

I invite you to check out our Infographic here for more details on how we use clinical, financial, and social determinant data in the model or contact us at and we would love to tell you all about this and other predictive solutions we have for managing Population, Acute Episode, Quality and Revenue Risk.

[1] Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization