Laws for Expanding Access to Medications for Opioid Use Disorder

A Legal Analysis of 16 States & Washington D.C.

Published in: The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, Volume 48, Issue 4, pages 492–503 (2022). doi: 10.1080/00952990.2022.2082301

Posted on RAND.org on October 07, 2022

by Barbara Andraka-Christou, Brendan Saloner, Adam J. Gordon, Rachel Totaram, Olivia Randall-Kosich, Matthew Golan, Bradley D. Stein

Background

Medications for opioid use disorder (MOUDs) are the gold standard for OUD treatment but are underused. To our knowledge, no published study has systematically identified and categorized state policy innovations for expanding MOUD utilization.

Objective

We sought to identify and categorize state MOUD policy innovations.

Methods

Within a stratified random sample of 16 U.S. states and Washington D.C. we searched for 2019 state statutes and regulations related to MOUD in Westlaw legal database. We then identified laws that appeared designed to increase MOUD utilization and categorized them using a template analysis approach.

Results

We found 82 laws with one or more MOUD expansion policies. We identified six high-level MOUD expansion policy categories: 1) policies expanding the availability of waivered buprenorphine providers; 2) needs assessments and policies increasing public MOUD awareness; 3) criminal justice system policies; 4) Substance use disorder (SUD) treatment and sober living facility policies; 5) insurance policies; and 6) hospital policies. SUD treatment and housing facility policies, as well as insurance policies, were most common.

Conclusions

Multipronged approaches are being pursued by several states to increase MOUD access. Our results can inform policymakers of MOUD expansion approaches in other jurisdictions. Policy categories can serve as the basis for policy variables for future analyses of policy effects.

Research conducted by

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