Only 1 in 5 people with opioid addiction get the medications to treat it, study finds

A recent study found that only one in five people suffering from opioid addiction in the US receive proper medications for their condition.

Key Findings: The study revealed that only 20% of people with opioid use disorder receive medications like methadone, buprenorphine, or extended-release naltrexone, which are considered gold standard for opioid treatment.
* These medicines are safe, effective and help the patients recover, but are often not prescribed by doctors.
* According to the FDA, these medications, in combination with counseling and other therapies, can reduce cravings for high-risk drugs like heroin and fentanyl.

Challenges and Implications: Experts point to stigma around addiction and lack of training among healthcare providers as major obstacles in using these lifesaving drugs.
* Particularly among women, Black adults, the unemployed, and urban dwellers, these medicines are “vastly underused”.
* Over 80,000 people are dying from drug overdoses involving opioids yearly, while effective treatments are underused.

Stats and Facts: Opioid overdoses led to over 80,000 deaths in the US in 2021, a record high, with nearly 83,000 fatal overdoses in 2022.
* A 2018 study indicated that methadone reduced overdose death rates by 59%, and buprenorphine did so by 38%.

Telehealth Potential: The study also found that those who receive medical support through telehealth services are nearly 38 times more likely to be prescribed the necessary medications.
* This aligns with the findings of a previous CDC report, indicating that telehealth can be an crucial strategy in treating opioid addiction and preventing overdoses.

View original article on NPR

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