Buprenorphine for the treatment of opioid use disorder in prisons and jails started increasing with the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers analyzing sales data have found. Despite previous barriers to such treatment, there were general relaxations of the prescribing rules, including for incarcerated individuals, with COVID-19, which started in March of 2020 in the United States.
Using data from the IQVIA National Sales Perspective (NSP), which includes information on the volume of medicines supplied to city, county and state prisons and jails and other types of institutional facilities (hospitals, clinics, and long-term care) in the U.S, the researchers measured the units for buprenorphine-naloxone overall and by type, by month. The researchers measured supply (or volume) before (January 2018-February 2020) and during (March 2020-October 2020) the COVID-19 pandemic.
The availability of buprenorphine in jails and prisons increased by 471.3% between January 2018, an increase which was not observed in other institutional facilities. This increase was largely driven by increased volume of buprenorphine/naloxone and was not observed in other institutional facilities.
Dadiomov D, Trotzky-Sirr R, Shooshtari A, Oato DM:
Changes in the availability of medications for opioid use disorder in prisons and jails in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic
Drug Alcohol Depend. 2022 Jan 11;232:109291.
doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2022.109291. Online ahead of print.