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Research Letter
October 1, 2019

Drive Times to Opioid Treatment Programs in Urban and Rural Counties in 5 US States

Author Affiliations
  • 1National Clinician Scholars Program, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
  • 2Department of Internal Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
JAMA. 2019;322(13):1310-1312. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.12562

Methadone for opioid use disorder can be dispensed only from US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)–certified opioid treatment programs (OTPs), creating access barriers in rural counties with a shortage of facilities. Canada and Australia allow primary care prescribing and pharmacy dispensing of methadone to expand access.1 Therefore, we examined drive times to the nearest OTP in urban and rural counties in 5 US states with the highest county rates of opioid-related overdose mortality.2 In addition, we compared drive times to federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) as potential primary care methadone-prescribing locations and to dialysis centers as treatment locations for a different chronic disease requiring frequent engagement.