The Fund supports several networks of state health policymakers to help identify, inspire, and inform policy leaders.
The Fund identifies and shares policy ideas and analysis on topics important to state health policymakers, particularly on issues related to state leadership, primary care, aging, and total costs of care.
Keep up with news and updates from the Milbank Memorial Fund. And read the latest blogs from our thought leaders, including Fund President Christopher F. Koller.
The Fund publishes The Milbank Quarterly, as well as reports, issues briefs, and case studies on topics important to health policy leaders.
The Milbank Memorial Fund is an endowed operating foundation that publishes The Milbank Quarterly, commissions projects, and convenes state health policy decision makers on issues they identify as important to population health.
December 4, 2019
Early View Original Scholarship
Amanda I. Mauri
Tarlise N. Townsend
Rebecca L. Haffajee
Back to The Milbank Quarterly
• This scoping review reveals a growing literature on the effects of certain state opioid misuse prevention policies, but persistent gaps in evidence on other prevalent state policies remain. • Policymakers interested in reducing the volume and dosage of opioids prescribed and dispensed can consider adopting robust prescription drug monitoring programs with mandatory access provisions and drug supply management policies, such as prior authorization policies for high-risk prescription opioids. • Further research should concentrate on potential unintended consequences of opioid misuse prevention policies, differential policy effects across populations, interventions that have not received sufficient evaluation (eg, Good Samaritan laws, naloxone access laws), and patient-related outcomes.
Context: In the midst of an opioid crisis in the United States, an influx of state opioid misuse prevention policies has provided new opportunities to generate evidence of policy effectiveness that can inform policy decisions. We conducted a scoping review to synthesize the available evidence on the effectiveness of US state interventions to improve patient and provider outcomes related to opioid misuse and addiction.
Methods: We searched six online databases to identify evaluations of state opioid policies. Eligible studies examined legislative and administrative policy interventions that evaluated (a) prescribing and dispensing, (b) patient behavior, or (c) patient health.
Findings: Seventy-one articles met our inclusion criteria, including 41 studies published between 2016 and 2018. These articles evaluated nine types of state policies targeting opioid misuse. While prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) have received considerable attention in the literature, far fewer studies addressed other types of state policy. Overall, evidence quality is very low for the majority of policies due to a small number of evaluations. Of interventions that have been the subject of considerable research, promising means of reducing the volume and dosages of opioids prescribed and dispensed include drug supply management policies and robust PDMPs. Due to low study number and quality, evidence is insufficient to draw conclusions regarding interventions targeting patient behavior and health outcomes, including naloxone access laws and Good Samaritan laws.
Conclusions: Recent research has improved the evidence base on several state interventions targeting opioid misuse. Specifically, moderate evidence suggests that drug supply management policies and robust PDMPs reduce opioid prescribing. Despite the increase in rigorous evaluations, evidence remains limited for the majority of policies, particularly those targeting patient health–related outcomes.
Keywords: Opioid, state policy, scoping review, drug overdose.
Read on Wiley Online Library
Published in 2019 DOI: 10.1111/1468-0009.12436
Get the Latest from the Milbank Memorial Fund
The Milbank Quarterly’s multidisciplinary approach and commitment to applying the best empirical research to practical policymaking offers in-depth assessments of the social, economic, historical, legal, and ethical dimensions of health and health care policy.