People who need opioid use (OUD) treatment in the United States are often not receiving it—at least two million people with OUD are experiencing a treatment gap that prevents or hampers their ability to receive life-saving care and support. This reality reflects structural, policy, and legal misalignments common to the entire US health care system, but that are especially present for behavioral health needs like substance use, and are exacerbated by other challenges related to stigma, lack of employment, and fragmented or nonexistent care coordination.
Shane Reader from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health, recently published research in Drug and Alcohol Dependence that reveals patterns in implementation, facilitates future evaluations, and produces a roadmap for the dimension reduction of further policy surveillance datasets related to harm reduction and drug use.
The Center for Public Health Law Research published data on the Center’s Prescription Drug Abuse Policy System legal data site PDAPS.org on state laws limiting prescriptions for opioid analgesics. This dataset presents state-level statutes and regulations across all 50 states and the District of Columbia in effect between January 1, 2014, and December 31, 2019.
The data were created in collaboration with subject matter expert Dr. Kao-Ping Chua, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Susan B. Meister Child Health Evaluation and Research Center, Department of Pediatrics, University of Michigan Medical School, who conceptualized this project.
An estimated 65 percent of the United States prison population has an active substance use disorder (SUD). Providing comprehensive substance use treatment to incarcerated individuals has been shown to reduce both drug use and crime upon release. Treatment is a critical intervention to prevent opioid overdose deaths, which the CDC estimates increased by 15.4 percent, from 70,029 in 2020 to approximately 80,816 in 2021. Medications like methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone are an important part of a comprehensive approach to addressing opioid use disorder (OUD).