24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (877)SAFEGBC or (877)723-3422 Mental Health & Substance Abuse Issues

6502 Nursery Drive, Suite 100
Victoria, TX 77904
(361)575-0611
(800)421-8825
Fax: (361)578-5500

Addictions
Resources
Basic Information
What is Addiction?What Causes Addiction?How Do You Get Addicted?Signs and Symptoms of AddictionTreatment for AddictionReferencesResourcesFrequentlly Asked Questions about Addiction
TestsLatest NewsQuestions and AnswersLinks
Related Topics

Anxiety Disorders
Depression: Depression & Related Conditions
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

For Rural Patients, Opioid Treatment Centers Often Too Far Away

HealthDay News
by -- Steven Reinberg
Updated: Oct 1st 2019

new article illustration

TUESDAY, Oct. 1, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Methadone is often used in the fight against opioid addiction, but long travel times in rural areas may be hampering efforts to get more people treated, a new study finds.

If methadone for opioid addiction was available in primary care clinics, more people would have better access to treatment, researchers suggest.

In the United States, methadone is only available at clinics certified by the federal government as Opioid Treatment Programs, or OTPs. This restriction, along with state and local laws, limits the number of clinics that offer methadone for opioid addiction.

For the study, researchers looked at drive times to OTPs in rural and urban counties in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia. These states are among those hardest hit by the opioid epidemic.

Drive time is important because methadone treatment requires six visits a week to an OTP, the study authors noted.

Except in the largest cities, average drive times to OTPs were longer than to other clinics, the study found.

The average drive time to a methadone clinic was 37 minutes, compared with 16 minutes to other medical clinics and 15 minutes to kidney dialysis centers. In rural areas, the drive time can be close to two hours, the researchers found.

"This study makes clear how poorly accessible methadone is for rural communities harmed by the opioid epidemic," study author Dr. Paul Joudrey, a post-doctoral fellow at Yale University, said in a university news release.

Joudrey noted that another drug, buprenorphine, is used in primary care settings to treat opioid addiction, but it doesn't help everyone. Addiction experts recommend that methadone should be available in all communities to improve health and reduce death among people who are addicted to opioids.

The report was published Oct. 1 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

More information

There's more about opioid addiction at the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse.