The Effect of State Legislation on Opioid Prescribing Practices, Mortality, and Emergency Departments

Access full-text files




Morais, Daelon John Martin

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



The purpose of this project is to assess how states’ laws regarding prescribing opioids affects the prescribing rates of opioid medications. Currently, there is a lack of research on types of prescription opioid related legislation and their effectiveness at combating the opioid epidemic. The effects of state laws regarding opioids on prescribing and mortality rates should be examined since providers’ prescribing practices are influenced by local, state, and federal regulations and can affect the rate of opioid abuse. In this investigation, I conducted a secondary data analysis of using the categories of opioid-related state legislature. The numerical data I used was comprised of state prescribing rates both in the emergency department and in general, and drug-related mortality rates with data provided by the Center of Disease Control and Prevention. Cluster analysis was performed on the numerical data to see if the groups aligned with distinct categories of opioid-related legislation. The results of the data analysis showed that states that required physical exams for an opioid prescription were correlated with a higher opioid prescribing rate. States that have an overdose emergency law are associated with both a high opioid related emergency department visitation rate and high opioid overdose mortality rate. An investigation into the effectiveness of opioid-related laws can help policymakers create more effective regulations and guidelines that are bolstered by data analysis. Additionally, states can assess which categories of laws are suitable to implement and direct funding towards. Some states have had varying levels of success with their legislature and they could be used as models for further reform. Since emergency departments receive a large proportion of opioid overdoses, analyses of legislation affecting the treatment of overdose emergencies can help produce protocols that reduce mortality and possibly increase rehabilitation rates. Furthermore, this may lead to larger scale investigations into opioid prescribing regulations in different regions and at varying jurisdiction to lead to wider scale reform.


LCSH Subject Headings