By Alison Knopf
It should come as no surprise that rural areas have longer drive times to opioid treatment programs (OTPs) than urban ones.
A research letter published in the Journal of the American Medical Association analyzes 489 counties in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia. For all counties, average drive time to the nearest OTP was 37 minutes; for rural counties, 41 to 49 minutes; and for urban ones, 8 to 35 minutes.
The letter suggests that if Federally Qualified Health Centers could prescribe methadone, the drive time in rural counties could be reduced substantially: from as high as 49 minutes, to 17.
Joudrey PJ, Edelman EJ, Wang EA. Drive times to opioid treatment programs in urban and rural counties in 5 US states. JAMA. 2019;322(13):1310-1312. doi: 10.1001/jama.2019.12562.