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Fewer hospital programs address opioid abuse, Ohio University study finds

February 27, 2019 / Jeff Lagasse

The damage done to America's health by the opioid epidemic is well-recognized and enormous, with drug overdose death rates helping to drive down U.S. life expectancy in recent years. Yet as the problem has worsened, hospitals collectively have seen a loss of programs dealing with substance abuse. That's the finding of a new paper written by faculty in Ohio University's Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine and College of Health Sciences and Professions, and published in the journal Health Services Research. The study analyzed data for 3,365 acute-care hospitals across the country, from the 2010 and 2015 installments of the American Hospital Association Annual Survey. In the time between the two surveys, it found, these hospitals showed a net loss of inpatient and outpatient opioid-related programs, even as overdose deaths continued to climb.