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Access to Buprenorphine-Waivered Providers for the Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder

SAMHSA estimates that 2.5 million people have an opioid use disorder related to prescription pain relievers and/or heroin. Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), including buprenorphine, is a significant component of the treatment protocols for opioid use disorder and plays a large role in combating the opioid epidemic in the United States. Congress has taken sustained action to support MAT services through broadened prescribing authorities, increased Federal funding, and insurance protections. However, a treatment gap continues to exist where less than 1 percent of the people in the United States who need treatment for substance use disorder receive it. OIG will examine access to MAT treatment through SAMHSA’s buprenorphine waiver program, which permits providers to prescribe buprenorphine to patients in office settings, rather than traditional opioid treatment facilities. We will examine the number, location, and patient capacity of providers who have obtained buprenorphine waivers from SAMHSA. We will also determine the extent to which waivered providers are located in areas with the greatest need for MAT services, the number of patients they report treating with buprenorphine, and the factors that may either facilitate or hinder the provision of buprenorphine in an office setting.

Announced or Revised Agency Title Component Report Number(s) Expected Issue Date (FY)
Jun-17 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Access to Buprenorphine-Waivered Providers for the Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder Office of Evaluation and Inspections OEI-12-17-00249 2018

Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services | 330 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20201