Opioid Prescribing Rates by Congressional Districts, United States, 2016

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To determine the extent to which opioid prescribing rates vary across US congressional districts.


In an observational cross-sectional framework using secondary data, we constructed 2016 congressional district-level opioid prescribing rate estimates using a population-weighted methodology.


High prescribing rate districts were concentrated in the South, Appalachia, and the rural West. Low-rate districts were concentrated in urban centers.


In the midst of an opioid overdose crisis, we identified congressional districts of particular concern for opioid prescription saturation.

Public Health Implications

The congressional district geography represents a policy-relevant boundary and a politically important level at which to monitor the crisis and determine program funding. Furthermore, in the context of the opioid crisis, knowing how congressional districts rank across the country and in states is useful in the creation of policies targeted to areas in need.

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