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Research Letter
September 20, 2016

Physician Capacity to Treat Opioid Use Disorder With Buprenorphine-Assisted Treatment

Author Affiliations
  • 1RAND Corporation, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • 2University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • 3RAND Corporation, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 4RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, California
JAMA. 2016;316(11):1211-1212. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.10542

Buprenorphine, a medication effective in treating individuals with opioid use disorders,1 can be prescribed in the United States by addiction specialists or by physicians who complete an 8-hour course and obtain a US Drug Enforcement Administration waiver. Waivered prescribers have been restricted to treating up to 30 patients with an opioid use disorder concurrently; after a year, physicians could request that the limit be increased to 100 patients. Policy makers have prioritized increasing capacity to provide buprenorphine to fight the opioid epidemic but lack adequate information about how to do so effectively. Patient censuses of buprenorphine prescribers were examined to provide information on whether patient limits have been a barrier to buprenorphine treatment.

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