24th July 2018

Expanding primary care buprenorphine treatment could curb opioid overdose crisis

In this article “Primary Care and the Opioid-Overdose Crisis — Buprenorphine Myths and Realities,” Sarah Wakeman, MD, medical director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Substance Use Disorders Initiative and Michael Barnett, MD, of the Department of Health Policy and Management, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, discuss how “to have any hope of stemming the overdose tide, we have to make it easier to obtain buprenorphine than to get heroin and fentanyl”. The authors believe “there’s a realistic, scalable solution for reaching the millions of Americans with opioid use disorder: mobilizing the primary care physician (PCP) workforce to offer office-based addiction treatment with buprenorphine, as other countries have done.”

Expanding the availability of medication treatment for opioid use disorder in primary care settings would be a major step toward reducing overdose deaths, write the two physicians specializing in addiction medicine and health care delivery in the July 5 issue of New England Journal of Medicine.

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