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Study: OTP Clinician Perspectives on Service Delivery Policy Changes During the Pandemic

January 19, 2021

In research published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment in January, FORE grantees Sarah B. Hunter, Ph.D., Alex R. Dopp, Ph.D., Allison J. Ober, Ph.D., and Lori Uscher-Pines, Ph.D., of the RAND Corporation, found the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically altered the delivery of methadone treatment in the U.S.

Their interviews with clinicians at opioid treatment programs in 13 states revealed that while many programs increased prescribing of take-home doses of methadone, access to other services, such as urine toxicology screening, and psychosocial services, including individual and group therapy, was often reduced. They also found that while clinicians appreciated the increased flexibility to offer take-home doses and deliver care via telemedicine during the pandemic, many were not taking full advantage of these changes, suggesting temporary policy changes may be insufficient to change clinician behaviors.