County Data Snapshots Highlight Increased Need for Medication-Assisted Treatment
February 15, 2018
Lisa Clemans-Cope, Principal Research Associate, Urban Institute
Marni Epstein, Research Assistant, Urban Institute
Douglas Wissoker, Senior Fellow, Urban Institute
A key strategy in the fight against the opioid epidemic is medication-assisted treatment (MAT), the use of medications with behavioral treatments to treat addiction. But most Californians live in places without enough access to this therapy.
To help local leaders plan to meet growing demand, the Urban Institute created snapshots for each California county showing the prevalence of opioid use disorder and available treatment resources. (Los Angeles County was divided into service planning areas due to its size.) Assuming 20% of people with opioid use disorder seek treatment at any one time, the researchers estimated the “treatment gap” and suggested strategies to meet the demand for treatment.
Treatment capacity is estimated using availability of opioid treatment programs (methadone clinics) and buprenorphine prescribers, since public data sources exist for both medications.
Strategies to increase MAT treatment capacity include:
Adding new buprenorphine-waivered prescribers
Working with existing prescribers to increase the number of patients treated