Research Update
Access to Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder: A Survey of Addiction Medicine Physicians on Telemedicine and Medication-Assisted Treatment
Project Background
Opioid-related overdose deaths continue to climb, reaching 42,249 in 2016 and reflecting the growing population with Opioid Use Disorders (OUDs) in need of treatment. Clinically, Medication Assisted Treatments (MATs) reduce the risk of OUD death by up to 50%. Yet access to MAT remains severely inadequate, particularly in rural areas where there is a severe shortage of MAT prescribers.

This quantitative study surveyed MAT providers to understand their views regarding telemedicine for MAT to treat OUDs. Surveys were administered to MAT prescribers of buprenorphine and naltrexone via email with an incentive to a sample of buprenorphine and naltrexone prescribers. A geospatial analysis was also conducted to analyze the mismatch between MAT availability and treatment need.
Respondents reported greater interest in providing MAT via telemedicine (n=202, 70.3%) than providing psychotherapy via telemedicine (n=174, 61.1%), and ranked pharmacotherapy via telemedicine as being more effective than any other proposed telemedicine services, including remote psychotherapy.

Geospatial analysis revealed Substance Use Disorder treatment (SUDTx) facilities were more likely to be established in densely populated locations, and though most counties had at least one SUDTx facility, solitary facilities may not be accessible by the entire county’s population.
View or download more information about this study, including a geospatial analysis of treatment programs and need:
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