What Happens to Opioid Prescribing When Buprenorphine Patient Capacity Changes?
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
Data and Methods: Administrative records on the patient limit for all waivered providers from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) were aggregated to the county level and merged together with indicators of opioid prescribing from 9 state prescription drug monitoring programs, for the years 2016 and 2018. County fixed-effect linear regression models were run, accounting for a number of economic and demographic state and county-level indicators, to identify the changes within counties in prescribing associated with patient capacity changes.
Results: Counties with increases in patient capacity saw decreases in opioid prescribing and increases in buprenorphine prescribing, with the relationship being strongest in non-metropolitan counties and when providers opted to be publicly listed in the SAMHSA treatment locator tool.
Conclusion: Results suggest that changes in the availability of buprenorphine has a secondary effect of reducing overall opioid prescribing rate, a positive sign for policymakers interested in simultaneously increasing access to MAT and reducing overall opioid prescribing.