“Amid rising rates of opioid use disorder and related unintentional lethal opioid overdoses, particularly in rural areas of the United States, researchers examine the distribution of physicians with Drug Enforcement Administration waivers to prescribe buprenorphine-naloxone, an effective treatment for opioid use disorder. Analyzing data for physicians on the DEA’s DATA Waived Physician List as of July 2012, they find only 2.2 percent of American physicians had obtained the waivers required to prescribe buprenorphine. Notably, 90 percent of those physicians were practicing in urban counties, leaving the majority of U.S. counties (53 percent) – most of them rural – with no physician who could dispense buprenorphine.
Although primary care physicians are the predominant providers of health care in rural America, very low percentages of family physicians and general internists (3 percent) had obtained a DEA waiver. Most U.S. counties, therefore, had no physicians who had obtained waivers to prescribe buprenorphine-naloxone, resulting in more than 30 million persons who were living in counties without access to buprenorphine treatment. Psychiatrists represented the largest group of physicians who had obtained waivers (42 percent), and most of them practiced in urban areas. The relative paucity of rural physicians trained to provide office-based treatment of opioid use disorder, the authors conclude, is a major barrier to office-based outpatient treatment for opioid use disorder.
The press release is available at: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-01/aaof-j2a010615.php
Original Source: Geographic and Specialty Distribution of US Physicians Trained to Treat Opioid Use Disorder by C. Holly A. Andrilla, MS, et al University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle. Distributed by Eurekalert – January 12, 2015