Thesis

The Opioid Epidemic and Inadequate Medicaid Coverage

Opioid overdose is considered one of the major causes of preventable mortality in the United States. With the expansion of Medicaid, it was speculated that the rate of opioid use disorder would experience a significant decline. The present study explored the trends and causes of OUD in aspect of Medicaid expansion and demographic diversity in the United States. The study was based on a systematic review of evidence-based literature. The systematic review indicated that the opioid epidemic in the U.S. is driven by multiple factors such as age, ethnicity, socioeconomic profile, healthcare insurance, and social stigma across the interested stakeholders. Additionally, the benefits of Medicaid expansion were recognized by those counties that took appropriate measures to monitor and regulate the share of prescription opioids. The concept of prior approval for prescription options was an innovative initiative to prevent inconsiderate use of opioids. Also, the approval for other medications by Medicaid that are used to control similar disorders such as depression, opioid addiction, and hypertension possesses the ability of reducing the danger of the opioid epidemic in the U.S. in the near future. However, Medicaid expansion for OUD could also prompt and increase the popularity of heroin abuse or abuse of other substances across the involved stakeholders. As a result, an integrated effort between public health officials, physicians, and third-party health insurance agencies is required to mitigate the opioid menace in the U.S. The concerned stakeholders should be provided the opportunity to access timely and appropriate care without the concern of social stigma.

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