Differences in Availability and Use of Medications for Opioid Use Disorder in Residential Treatment Settings in the United States

Opioid use and Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) continues to be a significant public health concern in the United States.

Several medications for OUD (MOUDs) are now considered by the medical community to be the criterion standard in OUD recovery

While many individuals with opioid use disorder seek treatment at residential facilities to initiate long-term recovery, the availability and use of MOUDs in these facilities are unclear.

A recent cross-sectional study, published in JAMA Network, has examined whether residential addiction treatment facilities in the United States use medications for opioid use disorder (MOUDs).

The researchers examined admission data from 2863 residential treatment facilities in 2017.

Results from the study found that:

  • Most residential facilities (i.e., 60.0%) in the United States did not offer any Food and Drug Administration–approved MOUDs in 2017 
  • Patients admitted to residential facilities that expanded Medicaid were more likely to have MOUDs as part of their treatment compared to those without expanded Medicaid.
  • MOUD prescriber restrictions for Medicaid reimbursement were further linked with MOUD use.

Overall the researchers conclude that

While residential treatment facilities may offer a high level of behavioural treatment in a structured environment, this study indicates that access to MOUDs for patients in these facilities is lacking.

In practical terms, the researchers suggest;

Medicaid expansion and the relaxation of MOUD prescribing restrictions for Medicaid reimbursement could improve MOUD availability and use in residential facilities.

Citation
Huhn AS, Hobelmann JG, Strickland JC, et al. Differences in Availability and Use of Medications for Opioid Use Disorder in Residential Treatment Settings in the United States. JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3(2):e1920843. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.20843
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United States