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Medical News & Perspectives
August 28, 2019

Using Telemedicine to Treat Opioid Use Disorder in Rural Areas

JAMA. 2019;322(11):1029-1031. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.12574

Opioid use disorder (OUD) used to be mainly an urban problem involving heroin.

But in the past 3 decades, a deluge of prescription pain medications in rural counties has helped spread the phenomenon far beyond major metropolitan centers. The overdose death rate—driven mainly by prescription opioids, and, more recently, heroin and illicit fentanyl—has been trending higher in rural areas than in urban since 2004, the CDC reported in 2017.

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