asian female doctor explaining medication to a young black female patient

Only One-Third of Mental Health Clinics Offer Medications for Opioid Use Disorder

According to a recent study, only one-third of mental health treatment facilities (MHTF) offered medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD).

In this study of 450 community outpatient MHTFs in 20 high-need states, only 34% offered MOUD. MOUD (buprenorphine, methadone and naltrexone) have become the standard for opioid use disorder recovery. Use of MOUD has been associated with reductions in health care use, including both inpatient and outpatient care, as well as decreased overdose mortality. Despite its effectiveness and the treatment need, MOUD remains underused, and access is further complicated by many factors.

Because individuals with co-occurring OUD and mental health disorders (COD) are more likely to receive treatment for mental health than a SUD, and given the high OUD prevalence in MHTFs, MHTFs are a particularly important MOUD access point with the potential to improve access to the more than 13 million individuals with COD who receive care in such settings annually.

Of the facilities included in the study, the factors that increased likelihood of offering MOUD included:

  • Self-reporting being a Certified Community Behavioral Health Center (CCBHC);
  • Providing integrated mental health and substance use disorder treatment;
  • Having a specialized treatment program for clients with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders;
  • Offering housing services; and
  • Laboratory testing.

The study concluded that further research is needed to report MOUD uptake, either through increased prescribing at all clinics or through effective referral models.

Source: Cantor J, Griffin BA, Levitan B, et al. Availability of Medications for Opioid Use Disorder in Community Mental Health Facilities. JAMA Netw Open. 2024;7(6):e2417545. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2024.17545 

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