• Federally Qualified Health Centers Can Expand Rural Access to Buprenorphine for Opioid Use Disorder in Arizona

      Brady, B.R.; Gildersleeve, R.; Koch, B.D.; Campos-Outcalt, D.E.; Derksen, D.J.; Arizona Center for Rural Health, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona; Comprehensive Pain and Addiction Center, Department of Pharmacology and Anesthesiology, University of Arizona; Community Research, Evaluation and Development, Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences, University of Arizona; Office of the Senior Vice President for Health Sciences, University of Arizona (SAGE Publications Ltd, 2021)
      Medication for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) is recommended, but not always accessible to those who desire treatment. This study assessed the impact of expanding access to buprenorphine through federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) in Arizona. We calculated mean drive-times to Arizona opioid treatment (OTP) locations, office-based opioid treatment (OBOT) locations, and FQHCs clinics using January 2020 location data. FQHCs were designated as OBOT or non-OBOT clinics to explore opportunities to expand treatment access to non-OBOT clinics (potential OBOTs) to further reduce drive-times for rural and underserved populations. We found that OTPs had the largest mean drive times (16.4 minutes), followed by OBOTs (7.1 minutes) and potential OBOTs (6.1 minutes). Drive times were shortest in urban block groups for all treatment types and the largest differences existed between OTPs and OBOTs (50.6 minutes) in small rural and in isolated rural areas. OBOTs are essential points of care for opioid use disorder treatment. They reduce drive times by over 50% across all urban and rural areas. Expanding buprenorphine through rural potential OBOT sites may further reduce drive times to treatment and address a critical need among underserved populations. © The Author(s) 2021.