Improving Access to Opioid Addiction Treatment

from RAND Research Topic: Health and Health Care at on August 30, 2018 at 04:13PM

Improving Access to Opioid Addiction Treatment

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Katherine E. Watkins discusses her research on transforming treatment for opioid addiction and other substance use disorders.

The Substance Use, Motivation, and Medication Integrated Treatment (SUMMIT) model demonstrates how primary care providers, especially in community health centers, can effectively deliver treatment for substance use disorders. The model provides a practical blueprint for policymakers and practitioners seeking to help those with addiction.

Watkins’ research is influencing how California will spend an increasing flow of federal dollars targeting opioid addiction, and her findings are underscoring the importance of expanding addiction treatment authority beyond the role of psychiatrist.

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  • Researchers assessed the costs of implementing the substance use motivation and medication integrated treatment (SUMMIT) program in Los Angeles, using methods that may apply to other large facilities.

  • Combining substance abuse treatment with regular medical care can successfully treat people with opioid or alcohol addiction, providing an option that might expand treatment and lower the cost of caring for people caught up in the nation’s opioid epidemic.

  • Key findings on opioid-related issues across a spectrum of policy areas may help decisionmakers understand the far-reaching affects of current and potential policies.

  • This integrated collaborative care protocol created for the SUMMIT study outlines procedures for screening, brief intervention, and treatment for patients with opioid or alcohol use disorders.