Putting Primary Care on the Front Line of Opioid Treatment

Historically, addiction has been a diagnosis without definitive treatment. Success rates for rehabilitation prove to be low and inconclusive, and the ongoing stigma further complicates treatment for those with opioid use disorder (OUD). The development of treatment of other physical health concerns and events—from pain management to anesthesia—employ the use of opioids, and this unaligned protocol for patients is one of the key roadblocks in the ongoing battle against the opioid crisis.

Dr. Alison Rapaport and Dr. Christopher Rowley’s recent article “Stretching the Scope — Becoming Frontline Addiction-Medicine Providers” from The New England Journal of Medicine discusses this impasse, and demonstrates how front-line prevention at the primary care level is crucial to reducing the onslaught of the opioid crisis. The article points out how addiction treatment such as medication-assisted treatment (MAT) needs to begin at this primary care level.

Rapaport and Rowley’s assessment of the potential solutions to the opioid epidemic is in line with Beacon’s activities toward promoting MAT, and transitioning OUD patients receiving MAT to recovery services. We work with MAT providers to integrate the needed recovery services into their treatment plans to provide the best chances for recovery for those we serve.