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Horizon claims decrease in commercial members' opioid use

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Horizon Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Jersey said July 12 that its efforts to combat opioid addiction are paying off.

The Newark-based insurer said the number of its commercially insured members filling one or more prescriptions for opioid pain killers has dropped 28 percent during the past four years.

The company, in a newly released report, also said 62 percent of its members’ cumulative opioid use was within Center for Disease Control safe guidelines in 2017, compared with 55 percent in 2013.

Horizon didn’t see an increase in opioid abuse from 2016 to 2017, with diagnosed opioid use disorders running roughly 7 in 1,000 of its commercially insured members during that span.

Earlier this year, Horizon BCBSNJ announced it would invest $125 million from tax breaks resulting from tax reform law that during the next five years. That money will be used for initiatives to improve behavioral health, substance abuse prevention, and addiction and recovery.

The company launched its first program to stem prescription drug abuse in 1999.

“Horizon is devoting a substantial part of the federal tax refund it is getting to increase prevention and treatment, expand community outreach and intensify our multi-faceted, long-term strategy to help our members stay or become addiction-free,” said Kevin Conlin, CEO of Horizon BCBSNJ.  “We are determined to continue to be a national leader when it comes to winning the fight against opioids.”

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Vince Calio

Vince Calio

Vince Calio covers health care and manufacturing for NJBIZ. You can contact him at vcalio@njbiz.com.

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