“American physicians with waivers allowing them to provide office-based medication-assisted buprenorphine treatment to patients addicted to opioids were able to increase potential access to effective medication-assisted treatment by 74 percent from 2002 to 2011, according to a new RAND Corporation study. The study was published in the June issue of the journal Health Affairs.
“In the past, many people living in rural counties have had no practical way to get treatment. They have seen the greatest benefit from the introduction of buprenorphine and the growth in the number of physicians approved to prescribe the drug,” said Dr. Bradley Stein, the study’s senior author, associate professor of psychiatry at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and a senior natural scientist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization.
Using data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the research team identified counties with shortages of waivered physicians or shortages of opioid treatment programs. By 2011, the percentage of counties with a shortage of waivered physicians fell dramatically from 98.9 percent to 46.8 percent. The change meant the percentage of the U.S. population living in a county with a treatment shortage declined from 49 percent to 10 percent.
The decline in counties with shortages in waivered physicians resulted in an estimated 74 percent increase in the fraction of the U.S. population with potential access to treatment.”
The article abstract and full article is available for purchase at: http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/34/6/1028.short
Source: MedicalXpress.com – June 9, 2015