Only 1 in 5 people with opioid addiction get the medications to treat it, study finds

Imagine if during a deadly public health crisis, 80% of Americans weren’t able to get safe, effective medications proven to help people recover.

study published Monday in the JAMA found that’s exactly what’s happening with the opioid crisis.

Nationwide, only one in five people with opioid use disorder receive the medications considered the gold standard for opioid treatment, such as methadone, buprenorphine or extended-release naltrexone.

All have been proven safe and effective at helping patients survive and recover. They’re also relatively easy to prescribe, but many doctors choose not to do so.

“Failing to use safe and lifesaving medications is devastating for people denied evidence-based care,” said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which partnered on the study.

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