Journal of General Internal Medicine
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Envisioning Minimally Disruptive Opioid Use Disorder Care

Publication Date Nov 18, 2022

Abstract

Most people who need and want treatment for opioid addiction cannot access it. Among those who do get treatment, only a fraction receive evidence-based, life-saving medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD). MOUD access is not simply a matter of needing more clinicians or expanding existing treatment capacity. Instead, many facets of our health systems and policies create unwarranted, inflexible, and punitive practices that create life-threatening barriers to care. In the USA, opioid use disorder care is maximally disruptive. Minimally disruptive medicine (MDM) is a framework that focuses on achieving patient goals while imposing the smallest possible burden on patients' lives. Using MDM framing, we highlight how current medical practices and policies worsen the burden of treatment and illness, compound life demands, and strain resources. We then offer suggestions for programmatic and policy changes that would reduce disruption to the lives of those seeking care, improve health care quality and delivery, begin to address disparities and inequities, and save lives.

Concepts

Medications For Opioid Use Disorder Minimally Disruptive Medicine Opioid Use Treatment For Opioid Addiction Improve Health Care Quality Current Medical Practices Punitive Practices Policy Changes Burden Of Illness Health Systems

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