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Medicaid Pays for More Than One-Third of $10 Billion Bill for Drug Abuse Hospitalizations

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AHRQ News and Numbers

Release date: October 31, 2007

Medicaid paid for more than one-third of the 1.3 million hospital stays related to prescription or illegal drug abuse in 2005, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). These admissions, for which drug abuse was listed as the primary or secondary cause of hospitalization, cost nearly $10 billion.

  • About 17 percent of those hospitalized for drug abuse were uninsured, according to the AHRQ analysis.
  • Although in many cases patients abused more than one drug, cocaine accounted for the largest number of stays (457,000), followed by opioids, including both heroin and prescription opiate-based pain relief drugs, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone (339,000).
  • Other drugs that resulted in hospitalizations included marijuana (275,000) and amphetamines, including methamphetamine and prescription stimulants (99,000).

This AHRQ News & Numbers summary is based on data in Hospitalizations Related to Drug Abuse, 2005 (PDF File, 200 KB; PDF Help). The report uses statistics from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a database of hospital inpatient stays that is nationally representative of inpatient stays in all short-term, non-Federal hospitals. The data are drawn from hospitals that comprise 90 percent of all discharges in the United States and include all patients, regardless of insurance type, as well as the uninsured.

For additional data breakdowns by geographic region, age, gender, and other characteristics, contact Bob Isquith at or call (301) 427-1539.

Current as of November 2007


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