Opioid Treatment in the United States

In 2008, the National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services examined data about the current state of substance abuse treatment in the United States. One area that the survey focused on was the treatment employed for sufferers of opiate addictions.

In 2008, 1,1132 of all substance abuse treatment facilities were authorized as Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs). In order to offer treatment for opioid abuse, treatment facilities must satisfy a certification by the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment to offer medications like methadone or buprenorphine to opioid abuse sufferers.

The total number of Opioid Treatment Programs equaled about 8 percent of all substance abuse programs.

21 percent of the OTPs offered outpatient, residential and hospital inpatient care. Overall, 92 percent offered outpatient care, 8 percent offered residential care, and 10 percent offered hospital inpatient care.

Methadone and/or buprenorphine were widely used to treat opioid addictions. About 69 percent of all OTPs offered a detoxification program using methadone or buphrenorphine to detoxify clients from other opiates.

On the official survey date of March 31, 2008, there were 268,071 clients receiving methadone, and 4,280 clients receiving buphrenorphine.

The majority of the OTPs were located in metropolitan areas, with 45 percent located in a large central metropolitan area. 88 percent of OTPs were privately operated.

Not all who require treatment for substance abuse speak English, so the survey also examined services provided in additional languages. 58 percent of the facilities offered treatment services in a language other than English. The services were provided by either a staff counselor or through an on-call interpreter.

Of the facilities that provided services in another language, 95 percent offered services in Spanish. Additionally, over one-quarter of facilities offered substance abuse treatment services in sign language for the hearing impaired.

The survey also examined what types of services are offered at the treatment facilities. The facilities offered assessment and pre-treatment services, such as screening for substance abuse, outreach and screening for mental health disorders. Facilities also offered counseling, specializing in individual, group, family and marital counseling.

Among other services offered were testing for drugs or diseases, transition services, and pharmacotherapy.

99 percent of the OTPs offered substance abuse counseling, 88 percent offered relapse prevention, and 46 percent offered cognitive-behavioral therapy. Motivational interviewing was employed at 43 percent of OTPs, along with 12-step facilitation at 37 percent of all OTPs.

Opioid treatment in the United States in 2008 is designed to meet a wide range of needs. A survey like the one conducted by the National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services provides useful information to those referring clients to substance abuse treatment facilities to help them choose a program that will meet their needs.

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