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HERC Health Economics Seminar

Can a Single Opioid Prescription Make a Difference? Evidence from Physician Prescribing Variation in Emergency Departments

by Jonathan Xia Zhang, PhD
Seminar date: 5/20/2020

Description: Abstract: This presentation leverages quasi-random assignment of patients to physicians in VHA emergency departments, who vary in their propensity to prescribe opioids. Research found that a single opioid prescription induces a 1.2 percentage point (pp) increase in the probability of long-term prescription opioid use, a 0.33pp increase in development of an opioid use disorder, and a 0.075pp increase in opioid overdose mortality. The presenter finds suggestive evidence of transition from prescription to illicit opioids such as heroin and synthetic opioids, as well as illicit opioid overdose deaths. Target Audience: Although the presentation is a causal inference/applied microeconomic discussion, the talk will be accessible to all researchers or practitioners interested in opioids research.

DOWNLOAD: PDF handout | Audio only (mp3) | transcript

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