LAWRENCE, KS (AP) – A recent University of Kansas study found that many addiction treatment centers in the Kansas City area will not accept or have restrictions on accepting patients who have been prescribed medications to combat their addiction.
Nancy Kepple, assistant professor for the KU School of Social Welfare, is the study's lead author. The study surveyed 360 Kansas-area treatment facilities to determine their acceptable rates of people with opioid use disorder who were prescribed prescription drugs to treat the disorder, she told the Lawrence Journal-World.
The study found 40% of those treatment centers resist accepting those patients who take medications to treat the disease.
Doctors are increasingly prescribing medications to treat people with opioid disease. Some of these medications include methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexine.
Some medical centers said they are reluctant to accept those patients because they either do not have the infrastructure or the knowledge of the medicines to feel comfortable enough to serve them, according to Kepple. Others said they are treatment centers that use the traditional 12-step program, which often adheres to a full-fledged philosophy.
Those who use drugs to combat addiction are in a precarious situation, Kepple said. If the person using the medication returns to an addiction, they are more likely to overdose, which is more important for them to get long-term care, she said.
"It's a big move in the healing world of engaging people in support services longer than just initial one-month or four-month treatment, so that they can continue long-term healing, but if they are not welcomed or unable to access some of these helpful services, then they remain vulnerable, ”Kepple said.
Many of the treatment centers reported in the study that they would be willing to serve those with prescription drugs, but they would need help doing so. The study says, "there is a need to build support and infrastructure to increase service access for individuals using these remedies."