Most young adults don't receive timely medication-assisted treatment for substance use disorder, study finds


Many adolescents and young adults with opioid use disorder aren't receiving medication-assisted treatment, according to a study published in JAMA Pediatrics.

Here are three things to know:

1. Researchers analyzed enrollment data and complete health insurance claims of 2.4 million young Medicaid patients ages 13 to 22 across 11 states from January 1, 2014, to December 31, 2015.

2. During the study period, 4,837 young patients were diagnosed with OUD. Only 1 in 21 patients under age 18 and 1 in 4 young adults ages 18 to 22 received medication-assisted treatment for OUD within three months of diagnosis, researchers found.

3. Buprenorphine, naltrexone or methadone were associated with greater retention in treatment. Young patients who received buprenorphine were 42 percent less likely to stop treatment compared to those who sought only behavioral treatment. Patients who received naltrexone and methadone were 46 percent and 68 percent less likely to abandon treatment, respectively.

"As deaths from overdose increase among U.S. youths, it is vital [to] ensure that access to evidence-based OUD medications for young people remains a national priority," the authors concluded.

More articles on opioids:

Physicians' poor addiction training makes healthcare's opioid battle like 'fighting World War II with only the Coast Guard'

Viewpoint: How drug exchange programs could save lives

Endo International wants separate settlement for opioid lawsuits


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