Majority of those with opioid use disorder do not receive treatment


An estimated 2 million Americans had opioid use disorder (OUD) in 2018, but only approximately 26 percent received specialty addiction treatment, according to a recent study.

Additionally, 60 percent of U.S. residential facilities did not offer any Food and Drug Administration-approved medication to treat OUD.

In a Pew Charitable Trusts video, David Zee, an outpatient recovery advocate, shows that outpatient treatment benefits patients by allowing them to save money, remain close to support networks, continue their employment and/or education, and live in their communities.

Opioid treatment programs (OTPs) provide patients with outpatient treatment that includes counseling, medications, and other health care services.

These medications include methadone, naltrexone, and buprenorphine. They work by blocking the effects of illicit opioids and reducing or eliminating opioid cravings. Buprenorphine and methadone also reduce or eliminate withdrawal symptoms.

OTP primary care providers prescribe these medications in their own clinical settings. Naltrexone is administered monthly in the clinical setting, while buprenorphine can be taken at home.

The providers are not legally required to offer behavioral health services, but behavioral health services are available on-site at some OTPs. Patients also could receive a referral for counseling.

For patients needing behavioral health services, intensive outpatient treatment programs show the best results.