Healthcare Utilization of Patients with Opioid Use Disorder in US Hospitals from 2016 to 2019: Focusing on Racial and Regional Variances. Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: There is a lack of US population-based research on healthcare utilization differences caused by opioid misuse. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to explore disparities in healthcare utilization by type of opioid use disorder, race, region, and other patient factors for a more targeted prevention and treatment program. METHODS: The National Inpatient Sample of the United States was used to identify patients with opioid use disorder (n=101,231, weighted n=506,155) from 2016 to 2019. Type of opioid use disorder was defined as opioid dependence/unspecified use, adverse effects of opioids, opioid misuse, and opioid poisoning (also known as overdose). We examined the sample characteristics and the association between type of disorder, racial and regional variables, and healthcare utilization, measured by hospital charges and length of stay. The multivariate survey linear regression model was used. RESULTS: Among 506,155 patients, most were categorized as opioid dependence/unspecified use (56.3%) and opioid poisoning (42.7%). The number of opioid use disorder patients during the study decreased; however, overall total charges and length of stay continuously increased. Survey linear results showed that opioid poisoning, adverse effects, and abuse were associated with higher hospital charges than opioid dependence; however, length of stay was significantly lower for these groups. White patients compared with minorities, and West, Northeast, and South regions were associated with higher hospital charges and length of stay. CONCLUSION: Significant differences in healthcare utilization exist between type of disorder, race, and region. Such findings illustrate that tailored treatment regimens are required to bridge the gaps in care and combat the opioid crisis. Minorities with opioid use disorder utilize healthcare the least, possibly because of affordability, and need culturally sensitive and financially feasible treatment options.

published proceedings

  • Clin Drug Investig

author list (cited authors)

  • Kim, S. J., Medina, M., & Chang, J.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Kim, Sun Jung||Medina, Mar||Chang, Jongwha

publication date

  • October 2022