Improving Access to Evidence-Based Medical Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder: Strategies to Address Key Barriers within the Treatment System

An Individually Authored Discussion Paper

Read the Discussion Paper | Key MessagesPrevention, Treatment, and Recovery Working Group

Publication Summary

Though medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) are effective and approved by the FDA, almost four in five Americans with opioid use disorder (OUD) do not receive treatment with these medications. The gap in access to evidence-based care, including treatment with these medications, stems in part from barriers to change within the health care system. An individually authored discussion paper by members of the National Academy of Medicine’s Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic identifies nine key barriers to access, use, and delivery of evidence-based treatment and focuses on strategies that can be employed by providers, researchers, payers, institutions, educational and accrediting bodies, and regulators to overcome barriers and move toward a more functional treatment system for all. The barriers are divided into five categories: provider barriers, institutional barriers, regulatory barriers, financial barriers, and barriers to engagement within the treatment system.

The paper’s authors present 25 potential strategies to address these barriers. Some are achievable immediately, and some will need to be executed over a longer term. All the strategies work toward the end goal of improving access to evidence-based medical treatment and better care for those with OUD.

Additional Resources

Key Messages

Sector Briefs

Join the conversation!

  Tweet this! 4 in 5 Americans don’t access treatment for SUDs in part due to barriers within the health care system. #OpioidCollaborative members have identified strategies to improve access to evidence-based care in a new #NAMPerspectives discussion paper:

  Tweet this! In a new #NAMPerspectives discussion paper, the authors suggest that enforcing the Mental Health Parity Act would enable more people to afford treatment for OUD, among other actionable strategies to increase access to care: #OpioidCollaborative

  Tweet this! Now is an opportune time to reduce barriers to evidence-based treatment for OUD. Health care providers, payers, regulators, institutions, and researchers can implement strategies to improve access. Read more: #NAMPerspectives #OpioidCollaborative


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Questions? Email or join the Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic email listserv.

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