The community-based medication-first program for opioid use disorder: a hybrid implementation study protocol of a rapid access to buprenorphine program in Washington State

Publication type
Journal article
Banta-Green CJ, Owens MD, Williams JR, Sears JM, Floyd AS, Williams-Gilbert W, Kingston S
Date published
2022 Jul 01
Addiction Science & Clinical Practice
Open Access?

BACKGROUND: Opioid use disorder (OUD) is a serious health condition that is effectively treated with buprenorphine. However, only a minority of people with OUD are able to access buprenorphine. Many access points for buprenorphine have high barriers for initiation and retention. Health care and drug treatment systems have not been able to provide services to all-let alone the majority-who need it, and many with OUD report extreme challenges starting and staying on buprenorphine in those care settings. We describe the design and protocol for a study of a rapid access buprenorphine program model in six Washington State communities at existing sites serving people who are unhoused and/or using syringe services programs. This study aimed to test the effectiveness of a Community-Based Medication-First Program model. METHODS: We are conducting a hybrid effectiveness-implementation study of a rapid access buprenorphine model of care staffed by prescribers, nurse care managers, and care navigators. The Community-Based Medication-First model of care was designed as a 6-month, induction-stabilization-transition model to be delivered between 2019 and 2022. Effectiveness outcomes will be tested by comparing the intervention group with a comparison group derived from state records of people who had OUD. Construction of the comparison group will align characteristics such as geography, demographics, historical rates of arrests, OUD medication, and health care utilization, using restriction and propensity score techniques. Outcomes will include arrests, emergency and inpatient health care utilization, and mortality rates. Descriptive statistics for buprenorphine utilization patterns during the intervention period will be documented with the prescription drug monitoring program. DISCUSSION: Results of this study will help determine the effectiveness of the intervention. Given the serious population-level and individual-level impacts of OUD, it is essential that services be readily available to all people with OUD, including those who cannot readily access care due to their circumstances, capacity, preferences, and related systems barriers