Physicians Anxious to Prescribe Addiction Treatment Drug, Cannot

Physicians Anxious to Prescribe Addiction Treatment Drug, Cannot

A new Florida study examines the access resident physicians in that state have to buprenorphine, an FDA-approved medication shown to successfully decrease opioid use, overdose events, and deaths associated with opioids.

The findings are disappointing.

When questioned in a survey conducted by the University of South Florida (USF) Health, resident physicians expressed an interest in treating opioid addiction but face barriers to providing medication-assisted treatment.

Resident physicians are often the front-line medical workers who see those suffering from opioid use disorder – otherwise known as opioid addiction.

Under current regulations, a waiver must be obtained to prescribe buprenorphine legally. Only 5% of all Florida physicians have that waiver.

When USF Health researchers surveyed resident physicians in Florida, 45% stated they planned to obtain the waiver, but only 3% actually had one.

The study’s lead author, Bryant Shuey, MD said, “…the opioid epidemic continues to claim over 45,000 deaths per year, (and) unfortunately, only 20% of patients with opioid addiction receive medical treatment. Medications like buprenorphine can radically improve the lives of people who have an opioid addiction, but providers underutilize these medications.”

According to an article in Medical Express, the USF survey also found that:

  • 73% of residents cared for patients with opioid addiction more than once per month.
  • Three-quarters of residents reported that their programs do not provide training in the treatment of OUD using buprenorphine.
  • Residents scored poorly on survey knowledge questions about treating opioid addiction.
  • Residents described limited knowledge about the diagnosis and management of opioid addiction as the most important barrier to prescribing buprenorphine, followed by a lack of awareness of the medication.
  • Residents interested in general medicine and those who cared for patients more frequently with opioid addiction were more likely to be interested in obtaining a buprenorphine waiver.

Again, according to Shuey, residents in his study overwhelmingly support deregulating buprenorphine for the treatment of OUD.

A growing number of national addiction specialists agree.

If you are struggling with an addiction to opioids and need help in Connecticut, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Florida, or Southern Maine, the recovery teams at Aware Recovery Care are here to help. Our unique model of care is giving clients a significantly better chance of recovery when compared to traditional inpatient rehab care. To learn more or to talk to one of our Recovery Specialists.