Use of Medications for Opioid Use Disorder Low

Past-year use lowest for adolescents and adults aged 50 years and older

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WEDNESDAY, March 30, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Only one in four people who could benefit from medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD) receives treatment, according to a study published online March 23 in JAMA Network Open.

Pia M. Mauro, Ph.D., from Columbia University in New York City, and colleagues estimated MOUD use rates and identified associations between MOUD and individual-level characteristics. The analysis included about 2.2 million people who participated in the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health in the United States and may have needed OUD treatment.

The researchers found that 56.8 percent had past-year prescription OUD and 80.0 percent had one or more co-occurring substance use disorders. However, only 27.8 percent of people needing OUD treatment received MOUD in the past year. No adolescents (aged 12 to 17 years) received MOUD in the past year. The likelihood of past-year MOUD receipt among adults was lower versus no treatment for people aged 50 years or older (compared with 18 to 25 years; adjusted relative risk ratio [aRRR], 0.14) or with middle or higher income ($50,000 to $74,999 versus $0 to $19,999; aRRR, 0.18). Receipt of MOUD was more likely among adults with at least some college (versus high school or less; aRRR, 2.94) and was less likely in small metropolitan areas (versus large metropolitan areas; aRRR, 0.41).

"The high prevalence of health care and criminal legal system contacts suggests that there are critical gaps in care delivery or linkage and that cross-system integrated interventions are warranted," the authors write.

One author reported receiving personal fees from the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

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