Opioid Use Disorder Among Clients of Community Mental Health Clinics
Prevalence, Characteristics, and Treatment Willingness
Published in: Psychiatric Services, Volume 73, Issue 3, pages 271–279 (March 2022). doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.202000818
Posted on RAND.org on June 01, 2022
The authors examined the prevalence of co-occurring opioid use disorder and willingness to engage in treatment among clients of eight Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health outpatient clinics.
Adults presenting for an appointment over a 2-week period were invited to complete a voluntary, anonymous health survey. Clients who indicated opioid use in the past year were offered a longer survey assessing probable opioid use disorder. Willingness to take medication and receive treatment also was assessed.
In total, 3,090 clients completed screening. Among these, 8% had a probable prescription (Rx) opioid use disorder and 2% a probable heroin use disorder. Of the clients with probable Rx opioid use or heroin use disorder, 49% and 25% were female, respectively. Among those with probable Rx opioid use disorder, 43% were Black, 33% were Hispanic, and 12% were White, and among those with probable heroin use disorder, 24% were Black, 22% were Hispanic, and 39% were White. Seventy-eight percent of those with Rx opioid use disorder had never received any treatment, and 82% had never taken a medication for this disorder; 39% of those with heroin use disorder had never received any treatment, and 39% had never received a medication. The strongest predictor of willingness to take a medication was believing that it would help stop opioid use (buprenorphine, ß=13.54, p=0.003, and naltrexone long-acting injection, ß=15.83, p<0.001).
These findings highlight the need to identify people with opioid use disorder and to educate clients in mental health settings about medications for these disorders.