California continues its love affair with prescription drugs…especially opioids.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Medi-Cal has seen a greater rise in spending on prescription drugs to treat opioid use disorders — and a bigger increase in the number of the drug units the program pays for — than almost any other state.
Between 2011 and 2017, the number of units of Medi-Cal-covered drugs that treat opioid use disorders — buprenorphine, naloxone and naltrexone — rose 775 percent, from 583,000 to a projected 5.1 million.
Only three states, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, saw more dramatic jumps.
In California, this translated to a 483 percent rise in spending by Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid program, on the opioid crisis. In 2011, Medi-Cal spent $4 million on these treatment drugs, compared to nearly $24 million in 2016, according to previously released data from the Urban Institute.