Physicians, nurses, and other health care providers can now access a new online tool that shows geographic comparisons of prescriptions for opioid pain relievers filled through Medicare Part D.

According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), deaths from drug overdose have risen steadily over the past two decades and $3.7 billion of Medicare Part D costs were for opioid products in 2013. CMS released this tool so health professionals can be aware of prescribing habits and the prevalence of opioid drug use in their community.

Previously, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it has made targeting opioid abuse, dependence, and overdose a priority. HHS announced a multi-pronged effort to combat opioid abuse and is currently developing opioid prescribing guidelines and tools for providers to make informed prescribing decisions.

Contact Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.