Home Health Primary Care and Opioid Use Disorder Treatment: A Slideshow

Primary Care and Opioid Use Disorder Treatment: A Slideshow

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Many Americans are aware of the opioid crisis, even if it does not directly affect them. However, most people are unaware that primary care physicians can prescribe medications for opioid use disorder (OUD), according to a recent survey funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The survey, conducted in June last year with 1,234 respondents, revealed that most believe primary care physicians (PCPs) should provide treatment for OUD.

“We’ve made great strides in making it easier for primary care doctors to prescribe these safe and effective treatments, but our study indicates a critical disconnect between the need for medications for opioid use disorder and people’s knowledge about how to access them,” said lead author Brandon del Pozo, PhD, MPA, MA, in an NIH news release. Del Pozo, an assistant professor at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and the Brown University School of Public Health, emphasized that “science, public health, insurance, policy, and public perception all must align to improve access to treatment.”

NIH noted that decades of research support the benefits of medications such as buprenorphine and methadone for treating opioid use disorder. There are approximately 209,000 primary care physicians in the United States, but studies estimate that fewer than 2,500 specialize in addiction medicine. Increasing the number of PCPs who prescribe medications for OUD could significantly impact public health, according to NIH’s news release.

This data comes from the research letter “Knowledge, Attitudes, and Beliefs About Opioid Use Disorder Treatment in Primary Care,” published on June 28 in JAMA Network Open. NIH’s accompanying news release, titled “Most Americans don’t know that primary care physicians can prescribe addiction treatment,” was published online.