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Comment & Response
November 2017

Factors to Consider for Reducing US Opioid-Related Deaths: Looking Beyond Access

Author Affiliations
  • 1VISN 1 New England Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Centers of Excellence, Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital, Bedford, Massachusetts
JAMA Psychiatry. 2017;74(11):1171. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2017.2586

To the Editor We want to thank Martins et al1 for their direction as we attempt to navigate and remap the current opioid epidemic’s vexing domestic landscape. As Martins et al1 reported, there was a 5-fold increase in heroin use and 3-fold increase in heroin use disorders from 2001 to 2013, which have likely contributed to the rise of US opioid-related deaths (ORDs) since 2002.2 One of the primary responses to the opioid crisis was increasing access to opioid-dependency medications, including buprenorphine, by increasing the number of prescribers.3 To explore the effectiveness of this intervention on ORDs in Massachusetts, we examined the number of buprenorphine prescribers and ORDs from 2010 to 2016.