Opioid Addiction: Laws, Regulations, and Other Factors Can Affect Medication-Assisted Treatment Access, GAO-16-833: Published: Sep 27, 2016. Publicly Released: Oct 27, 2016.
“Overdoses of opioids such as heroin caused more than 28,000 deaths in the U.S. in 2014. Medication-assisted treatment (which combines medication with behavioral therapy) can reduce opioid addiction. We looked at factors that can affect patients’ access to medication-assisted treatment such as:
- Federal laws: Laws are more restrictive when medications—e.g., methadone—are used to treat addiction rather than pain.
- Practitioner availability: Qualified, registered practitioners may not be available.
- Perception: This treatment is stigmatized and some practitioners are reluctant to use it.
- Costs: Insurance coverage for treatment can be limited.”