Treatments that include pharmacotherapy are the standard of care for opioid use disorder (OUD), but they are underutilized. This paper uses a large sample of treatment admissions for OUD in the United States to examine characteristics predictive of receiving treatments that include pharmacotherapy.
Data come from the 2014 Treatment Episode Dataset—Admissions. Generalized linear regression models were utilized to assess the association of receiving pharmacotherapy treatment with a number of demographic, treatment, and disorder characteristics.
Less than one third of treatment admissions for an OUD involved pharmacotherapy. Among the factors most associated with receiving pharmacotherapy treatment were referring oneself to treatment, as opposed to a medical or nonmedical professional, and receiving treatment in a nonintensive outpatient setting, as opposed to intensive outpatient or residential settings.
Encouraging professionals to refer clients to programs that offer treatments that include pharmacotherapy, and incorporating pharmacotherapy into a greater diversity of treatment settings, could help increase access to evidence-based care for OUD.