New research project to focus on increasing physician capacity to prescribe buprenorphine

Submitted by: 04/04/2016 by Maureen Fitzgerald

Todd Molfenter, Senior Scientist at the Center for Health Enhancement System Studies (CHESS) and NIATx Deputy Director will lead a five-year NIDA grant to increase physician capacity to prescribe buprenorphine for opioid misuse disorders.  

Buprenorphine pharmacotherapy is a promising evidence-based practice for treating opioid dependence in specialty addiction treatment centers. While these treatment centers provide 88% of opioid addiction treatment only 17% of them offer medication-assisted treatment with buprenorphine. One of the leading causes for not using this therapy is the lack of certified physician prescribers.

 “Test of a Workforce Intervention to Expand Buprenorphine Prescribers” will test a bundle of practices that increased physician-prescribing capacity significantly in the Ohio Buprenorphine Implementation Study. The Ohio study involved 40 addiction treatment organizations; the new project will include three states and 70 addiction treatment programs.  

The practice bundle includes the field-tested physician recruiting practices and will rely on NIATx model to implement elements of the bundle.

“By increasing access to buprenorphine treatment for opioid addiction, this trial could have a significant public health impact,” says Molfenter. “If the practice bundle proves successful, it could also be used to recruit physicians in other areas where physician shortages exist.” 

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