A recent study hypothesized that distribution of methadone in Ohio via Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs0and pharmacies left out so many realities facing methadone treatment in the United States. The study, based on “geospatial” research, looked specifically at how close patients are via zip code to opioid treatment programs (OTPs), FQHCs, and pharmacies. Among these realities: pharmacies are required by the Drug Enforcement Administration to have special requirements for methadone, requirements that regular pharmacies and those in FQHCs do not have. For another, treatment with methadone entails much more than just the medication, especially in the first few months. After all, in order to be accepted into methadone treatment, most patients have been dependent on opioids for more than a year. They need help with much of their lives, as for many of them, day-to-day existence has consisted of trying to avoid withdrawal by seeking drugs, many of which are short-term and require frequent administration. Now, there is the added fear of illicit fentanyl contaminating the street supply.
The study is exemplary in its discussion about the need to expand treatment. There are just too many unanswered questions.
The study, Expanding access to methadone treatment in Ohio through federally qualified health centers and a chain pharmacy: A geospatial modeling analysis, is published in the March issue of Drug and Alcohol Dependence, and authored by Suzan Iloglu and colleagues.