Male, older doctor holding a clipboard and explaining diagnosis to a younger male patient

New CDC Report Identifies Gaps in Care for People with Opioid Use Disorder

According to a new analysis of data from the 2022 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), among the 4% of U.S. adults who needed opioid-use disorder (OUD) treatment, only 25% received medications for OUD (MOUD). The findings were reported in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

Other findings include:

  • 30% of U.S. adults who needed OUD treatment received OUD treatment not including MOUD.
  • Higher percentages of White than Black or African American or Hispanic or Latino adults received any treatment.
  • Higher percentages of men than women and of adults aged 35–49 years than other adults received MOUD.
  • 43% of adults needing OUD treatment did not perceive that they needed it.
Female doctor explaining medical treatment to patient.

The report noted several factors that limit access to MOUD despite strong recommendations for their use:

  • Clinician preference to treatment that does not include medications.
  • Clinician beliefs equating MOUD with illegal substance use.
  • Methadone availability limited to SAMHSA–certified opioid treatment programs.
  • Lack of locally accessible OTPs.
  • OTP facilities that do not accept clients using medications for OUD.
  • Large proportions of pharmacies that do not stock buprenorphine.
  • Payors, including many state Medicaid programs, with restrictions that delay dispensing of some buprenorphine formulations.
  • Primary care physician barriers to prescribing buprenorphine, including too little experience treating OUD, concern about being inundated with requests for buprenorphine, lack of access to addiction or behavioral health specialists, and acquiring the training required to obtain a waiver.

Source: Dowell D, Brown S, Gyawali S, et al. Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder: Population Estimates — United States, 2022. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2024;73:567–574. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm7325a1.

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