Treating Opioid Use Disorders

Life-changing, effective treatments to break the cycle of abuse

More than 11.5 million Americans take pain relievers for nonmedical uses. Treatment options available to these people include medication-assisted therapies, methadone, therapeutic communities, and more. To better meet the needs of those suffering from substance abuse and maximize scarce resources, it is critical to understand the treatments that work and those that do not.

Economic analyses provide critical information on the value of alternative treatments. We recently conducted an independent study to determine the cost-benefits of Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers (TROSA), an innovative, North Carolina-based, multiyear residential program that provides treatment, vocational training, education, and continuing care to people struggling with substance use disorder. The results of the small program are compelling: TROSA saves the state $7.5 million annually by preventing arrests, incarceration, and emergency hospital visits.

To ensure maximum effectiveness, public policies surrounding opioid use also need to be evaluated to understand how they affect people in treatment. To this end, we are examining the cost and cost-effectiveness of a patient-centered methadone maintenance treatment programs, the cost-effectiveness and cost-benefit of methadone maintenance for jail inmates with opioid addiction who are reentering the community, and extended-release naltrexone for adolescents and young adults with opioid addiction.

We have an extensive history of performing economic evaluations of substance use treatment and using modeling to evaluate the effects of policy changes on the lives of people in treatment. We use a multitude of methodologies to collect data, including web-based surveys to collect population-based information, and face-to-face interviews among prescribers to understand the factors that contribute to patient communication and medication compliance.

We’re continuously gathering key data, conducting essential research, and helping policymakers implement informed decisions—based on sound science—for the public good.


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Improving the Quality of Addiction Treatment