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Study Shows Few Receive Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addictions

A new study is showing that medication-assisted treatment of opioid use disorder is being vastly under-utilized. The report can be found in JAMA Network Open[i] and was authored by researchers from the Rutgers School of Public Health and Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

While medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder is clearly beneficial in most cases, the report states that only 28% of those addicted to opioids receive it.

The research findings are based on data from the 2019 U.S. National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The survey covered community-based respondents, excluding those who were institutionalized or homeless and not in shelters.

The research team first identified adolescents and adults in the data set that would benefit from medication-assisted treatment. They found that 57% received no treatment of any kind, and 15% received treatment without medications. They also found that young people aged 12-17 received no medications at any time.

Women also tended to receive medication-assisted treatment less frequently than men, while white people were more likely than people of color to receive medication-assisted treatment.

It’s interesting to note that as of 2020, the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act requires Medicaid to cover all approved drugs for opioid use disorder, including methadone – so cost should not be an obstacle to care.

Aware Recovery Care is trying to do its part by offering medication-assisted treatment in more states and is also offering in-home detox management in additional states as well.

If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to alcohol and/or drugs and needs help in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Virginia, Florida, or Indiana, 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, please contact one of our Recovery Specialists.


[i] Use of medication for opioid use disorder among US adolescents and adults with need for opioid treatment, 2019, JAMA Network Open (2022).

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