Characterizations of Opioid Prescribing in Community Health Centers in 2018

Nathalie Huguet, Tahlia Hodes, Steffani R. Bailey, Miguel Marino, Daniel M. Hartung, Robert Voss, Jean O’Malley, Irina Chamine, John Muench

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To identify the patient- and clinic-level correlates of any prescription opioid use, chronic use, and high-dose opioid use in a multi-state network of Community Health Centers (CHCs). Methods: We used electronic health record data from 337 primary care clinics serving 610 983 patients across 15 states in 2018. The primary outcomes were prescription of any opioid, chronic opioid, and high-dose opioid. Results: Overall, 6.5% of patients were prescribed an opioid; of these, 31% were chronic users and 5% were high-dose users. Males had 5% lower odds (Odds Ratio [OR] = 0.95; 95% Confidence Interval = 0.93-0.97) of being prescribed an opioid but 16% higher odds (OR = 1.16; 95% CI = 1.10-1.21) of being chronic users and 48% (OR = 1.48; 95% CI = 1.36-1.64) higher odds of being high-dose users than females. Rural clinics had higher rates of chronic opioid (rate ratio = 1.86; 95% CI = 1.20, 2.88) and high-dose users (rate ratio = 2.95; 95% CI = 1.81-4.81). Conclusions: Our study highlights variations in opioid prescribing with regard to patient-level and clinic-level factors. Targeted efforts and resources may be required to support rural CHCs who seek to reduce high-risk opioid prescribing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Primary Care and Community Health
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • community health
  • medications
  • opioid
  • primary care
  • underserved communities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Community and Home Care
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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