Department of Veterans Affairs Opioid Prescribing Data

In keeping with the Department of Veterans Affairs' effort to be the most transparent agency in government, VA will begin posting information publicly on opioids dispensed from VA pharmacies, along with VA’s strategies to prescribe these pain medications appropriately and safely. 

The interactive map shows data over a five-year period (2012-2017) and does not include Veterans’ personal information. The posted information shows opioid-dispensing rates for each facility and how much those rates have decreased over time. It is important to note that because the needs and conditions of Veterans may be different at each facility, the rates of the use of opioids may also be different for that reason, and cannot be compared directly.

The prescribing rate information will be updated semi-annually, on January 15 and July 15 of each year.

If you are having issues viewing the map please click here.

The Opioid Safety Initiative (OSI) is the coordinating center for all of VA's efforts to promote safe prescribing practices and to address the broader opioid epidemic in the United States.

Prescribing Rates

Opioid prescribing rates are calculated by dividing the number of Veterans who received any opioid prescription by the total number of Veterans who received a prescription from that pharmacy within the specified time period.

Percent Change

The percent change represents the relative decrease (or increase) in opioid prescribing rates between 2012 and 2017. Overall, 99% of VA facilities have decreased prescribing rates since 2012.

Regional Non-VA Prescribing Rate

It is well-established that opioid prescribing rates and abuse vary across different parts of the country. Regional comparison categories were generated using publicly available data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS reports opioid prescribing rates by state, which are calculated by dividing the number of Medicare Part D claims for opioid medications by the total number of prescription claims.

Data for states are aggregated in to 5 groups by CMS. The "Low" Regional Non-VA comparison category represents the 40% of states with the lowest prescribing rates for Medicare beneficiaries. The "High" Regional Non-VA comparison category represents the 40% of states with the highest prescribing rates. The "Average" Regional Non-VA comparison category represents the 20% of states in the middle. The most current available comparison data is from 2015.