This is such an important question to resolve! Especially now, with more than a dozen states yet to decide on Medicaid expansion, while studies—some pro, some con, fail to provide an answer. So many factors are in play, and the statistical analysis involved is intensive. Background The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) became law in 2010, … [Read more...] about STUDY: Is ACA Medicaid Expansion Fueling the Opioid Epidemic, or Is It Saving Lives?
Lacking alternative resources, many people with substance use disorders (SUDs) visit emergency departments (EDs), especially after an overdose (OD). This gives care providers an opportunity to provide referrals to treatment for those who need it. But EDs may lack the time and resources to select the patients at highest risk—those who could benefit from intervention. This is … [Read more...] about STUDY: Risk Factors EDs Can Use to Identify Patients With Substance-Related Encounters Who Are at High Risk of Fatal Opioid ODs
Eight investigators from medical centers in the U.S. and Canada recently looked into methadone access in the U.S., and evaluated the current availability of methadone treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD). The current situation within the U.S. wasn’t encouraging: In 2017, drug overdose deaths in the U.S.—most of them related to opioids—totaled 70,237. Yet … [Read more...] about Study Report: Pharmacy-Based Methadone Distribution
Here’s something most people in the field know: buprenorphine treatment lowers the risk of overdose and death in people with opioid use disorder (OUD). And here’s what many don’t know: most patients don’t remain in buprenorphine treatment long enough to benefit from it. Six months is the shortest time endorsed by the National Quality Forum, but most patients—50% to … [Read more...] about Buprenorphine Effectively Treats OUD, But Most Patients Quit Treatment Too Early—Risking Relapse, Overdose, and Other Potentially Fatal Events
The problem of methadone underuse isn’t new—but the authors of a recently published paper offer ways to fix the situation; ways that are both new and innovative. If broad regulatory changes aren’t going to happen, they say, the solution may be to empower private insurers to make methadone more accessible to patients by, for example, allowing it to be prescribed without the … [Read more...] about Study Favors Better Insurance Reimbursement for Methadone Maintenance