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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

BU: Identifying Factors Associated with Stopping Treatment for Opioid Dependence

People with opioid use disorder who are treated with buprenorphine, a commonly prescribed drug to treat addiction, are more likely to disengage from treatment programs if they are black or Hispanic, unemployed, or have hepatitis C, according to a study co-authored by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers.

Buprenorphine—when formulated with another drug, naloxone—is an effective treatment for opioid dependence. Treatment has been shown to lead to reduced rates of heroin and prescription opioid use, as well as a reduction in “risky behaviors” that are associated with development of significant co-morbidities, such as HIV or viral hepatitis infection.

To better understand the reasons for disengagement from buprenorphine treatment, researchers from BUSPH and Boston University School of Medicine examined patients treated at Boston Medical Center’s Office Based Addiction Treatment (OBAT) program between 2002 and 2014.

The study, published online in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, found that older age, female gender, and co-morbid psychiatric diagnoses were associated with greater odds of treatment retention beyond one year. Meanwhile, patients who were black or Hispanic, unemployed, and had evidence of hepatitis C viral infection had decreased odds of treatment retention beyond one year.

To read more about the study, go to: