Opioid pills Some in the policyarena have raised questions about the effectiveness of Medicaidexpansion in addressing opioid abuse and the possibility ofcreating increased access to prescription painkillers.

A new study in the JAMA Open Network links the expansion ofMedicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with an overallreduction in opioid deaths.

The study notes that drug overdose is a leading cause ofinjury-related death in the U.S., resulting in more than 200 deathsa day—and more than 700,000 per year. "Fatal drug overdoses haveincreased markedly during the past 2 decades in large part becauseof overdoses involving opioids, including prescription opioids andillegal opioids, such as heroin and illicitly manufacturedfentanyl," the study said. "Between 2001 and 2017, the age-adjustedmortality rate for opioid-related overdoses more than quadrupled,from 3.3 to 14.9 per 100,000 standard population."

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