In two recent articles, the first from National Review (http://www.nationalreview.com/article/449171/medicaid-opioid-problem-has-it-made-epidemic-worse), and the second from the Wall Street Journal, (https://www.wsj.com/articles/medicaids-opioid-fix-1502838645), a little known trend has come to light.
For many of us it is no surprise. Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California) has likely been a significant contributor to the nationwide opioid addiction and overdose problem. Some would say epidemic. According to one study, about ¼ of all Medicaid patients are prescribed opioids. That is a staggering number. If that holds true in California that would mean about 9 million people have prescriptions for opioids. Let that sink in. In some states 240 oxycodone pills can be purchased with a $1 copay from Medicaid and then resold on the street for $4,000. In one state people on Medicaid were 5.7 times more likely to die from and overdose than those not on Medicaid. It is now not uncommon for drug dealers to take possession of their clients EBT debit cards to buy the drugs they then sell back to the victim.
What is being done to prevent this abuse? Does anyone care? What is happening in California?
I once went to a Medi-Cal meeting and someone asked how many children in California are on Medi-Cal. No one there from the department of Health Care Services could answer the question. How many people are abusing or reselling opioids in California using Medi-Cal? If you don’t know, ask your legislator if they have any idea. If they don’t, why not?
It is a real problem. Stand up and find the answers.