Assessment of State and Federal Health Policies for Opioid Use Disorder Treatment During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond   [open pdf - 2MB]

From the Introduction: "Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) severely disrupted critical treatment and recovery supports for individuals with opioid and other substance use disorders (SUD), even as more than 93 000 Americans were dying from drug poisonings. Shelter-in-place orders led to reduced social support, disruptions to work or job loss, and increased psychological distress. These factors can exacerbate substance misuse and increase risk of relapse for those in recovery. Early evidence shows that substance misuse, including opioid use disorders (OUD), increased during the pandemic. [...] The goal of this cross-sectional study is to inform researchers of the range of state and federal policies that may affect access to and utilization of SUD treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic, some of which are not narrowly focused on SUD treatment but are still relevant if researchers intend to conduct robust evaluations of a given policy's effect. We reviewed federal and state policy changes implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic that address important barriers in access to effective SUD/OUD treatment raised in the literature, namely (1) coverage, delivery, and payment of telehealth, (2) management of consent, privacy, and security requirements, (3) licensing requirements, and (4) initiation and dispensing of medication. We describe the heterogeneity across states in each of these 4 policy areas, and examine through the example of telehealth, how particular combinations of policies across the 4 domains might limit or expand the reach of policies in this area."

2021 Pessar SC et al. JAMA Health Forum. Posted here with permission. Document is under a Creative Commons license and requires proper attribution and noncommercial use to be shared: [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/]
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JAMA Health Forum (2021), v.2 no.11, e213833
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