This special issue of BMC Health Services Research focuses on how health services research has emerged as an important contributor to efforts to control the opioid epidemic in North America and Europe. Addiction health service researchers have focused efforts on opioid use disorder (OUD) and strategies to address the emerging public health threats associated with the epidemics of opioid use and opioid overdose. The increase in OUD is associated with widespread access to prescription opioid analgesics, enhanced purity of heroin, the introduction of potent illicit fentanyl compounds, and a rising tide of opioid overdose fatalities. These deaths have become the face of the opioid epidemic. OUD is a chronic disorder that usually requires both medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) and psychosocial treatment and support. Research has found that MOUD with an opioid receptor agonist (methadone), partial agonist (buprenorphine), or opioid antagonist (extended-release naltrexone) can support recovery. Despite compelling evidence that MOUD are effective, they remain underutilized. More research is needed on these therapies to understand the feasibility of implementation in clinic settings.
Source: BMC Health Services Research