Opioid Agonist Therapy Underused, Data Suggest

A study in Ontario, Canada found that only 4.1% of hospital visits for opioid use disorder (OUD) resulted in community-based initiation of opioid agonist therapy (OAT) within 7 days of discharge. This low rate, despite the proven effectiveness of OAT in reducing morbidity and mortality, reflects missed opportunities to engage patients in treatment for OUD. In addition to physician burnout and time constraints, structural and social barriers are preventing patients from receiving life-saving medication for OUD, suggesting the need for improvements in clinical care, community-based interventions, and addressing social and structural factors that promote the initiation of OAT. Future research is needed to identify necessary improvements and interventions for those at risk.

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