This post elaborates on the ideas from a recent freely-available commentary published in the journal Addiction.
Accessing opioid agonist therapy (OAT) and maintaining good adherence faces many barriers which can be geographical, financial, regulatory, situational or logistic. In some settings, lack of services hinders access to treatment for people living with opioid use disorder (OUD). In other settings—even where health‐care and medications are provided free of charge—many people who have OUD do not seek OAT. In the United States, recent ‘estimates suggest a gap between treatment need and capacity of 1.4 and 1.3 million in 2012, respectively’ . The ongoing epidemic of OUD needs to develop strategies to recruit and keep patients on OAT.
Approaches described in the HIV/AIDS literature may be useful to improve rates of access and treatment retention. For instance, a 2017 meta‐analysis showed that HIV testing uptake escalated after social media interventions and even more in the studies where social media interventions were ‘participatory’ . Future research on OAT uptake could therefore assess the merit of using them to enhance OUD diagnosis in primary and specialty care settings (e.g. pain clinics).
We also often fail to identify OUD because of stigma. This is another important area where HIV/AIDS research documented a strong association with medication adherence . Health‐care provider education could therefore employ strategies to reduce stigmatizing beliefs that may influence adherence.
Read the full story in the journal Addiction
Cited study: Klimas, J., Wood, E., McCracken, R. (2020) Commentary on Jin et al. Expanding the impact of opioid agonist therapy for opioid use disorder – Are there lessons from the HIV/AIDS response? Addiction. doi: 10.1111/ADD.15286
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