Aug 26, 2020 - Health

Most treatment centers lack standard of care for opioid addiction

A maze with a pill in the middle

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

More than 70% of residential treatment programs in the U.S. don’t offer the medical standard of care for opioid addiction, a new report published in JAMA shows.

The big picture: Many facilities pushed clinically irrelevant therapies or outright discouraged widely accepted medication-based therapies.

By the numbers: Researchers called 368 programs posing as uninsured heroin users asking for care options.

  • Just 29% of facilities offered maintenance treatment with buprenorphine, while more than 20% discouraged the drug's use. 31% offered medication-assisted treatment, but only for short term "detox."
  • 92% offered some kind of 12-step programming. Many also offered group therapy.
  • Many also offered yoga, animal therapy or massage — therapies with little to no basis in evidence.
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