Increase in Waivered Clinicians Has Not Eliminated Rural/Urban Opioid Treatment Disparities

A new WWAMI RHRC study finds that the number of DEA-waivered clinicians more than doubled from December 2017 to July 2020, from 37,869 to 98,344. The availability of a clinician with a DEA waiver to provide medication treatment for opioid use disorder (MOUD) has increased across all geographic categories. Nearly two thirds of all rural counties (63.1%) had at least one clinician with a DEA waiver, but more than half of small and remote rural counties lacked one. There were also significant differences in access by US Census Division.

We found that the substantial expansion in the number and types of providers who can prescribe buprenorphine, as well as the increases in the number of patients that clinicians with a waiver can treat at one time, offer significant but not fully realized potential to curtail the OUD epidemic in rural communities.

Overall, MOUD access has improved, but there is significant regional variation and small rural communities particularly continue to experience access challenges. Access the study.


US Counties With a Clinician With a DEA Waiver to Prescribe Buprenorphine by US Census Division

Leave a Reply