Center for Disease Control and Prevention data indicate opioid overdose deaths in the Ohio Valley declined in 2018, the first time in nearly a decade.
Researchers say this is cause for optimism. But two new studies warn that access to medication assisted treatment, or MAT, for people with opioid use disorders continues to be a challenge.
A Johns Hopkins University analysis of the 2017 National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services published Friday in JAMA Psychiatry found problems with MAT availability and use in residential treatment facilities.
A little more than 60 percent of residential treatment facilities did not offer FDA-approved MAT drugs like methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone on site that year. MAT is a key component for people reaching and sustaining addiction recovery, according to treatment specialists.
Researchers found restrictions on prescribing MAT drugs as one possible cause for the limited availability.
“Prescriber restrictions include prior authorization to prescribe buprenorphine or extended release naltrexone, the requirement that buprenorphine be distributed by an opioid treatment program, or lifetime limits on doses of buprenorphine greater than 8 milligrams,” the authors wrote.
The solutions they offered included partnerships among local medical facilities and improvements in the accrediting and licensing of residential …