Original Article

Eligible Prescriber Experiences with Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Perceptions of Pharmacy Barriers to Buprenorphine

Authors: J. Chase Harless, MSW, Phillip M. Hughes, MS, Courtenay Wilson, PharmD, Delesha Carpenter, PhD, MSPH, Bayla Ostrach, MA, PhD


Objectives: The primary aim of this study was to better understand North Carolina providers’ specific substance use disorder (SUD) and opioid use disorder treatment practices and buprenorphine prescribing. Furthermore, this study aimed to provide novel information regarding US South and rural providers’ opioid use disorder treatment behaviors and perceptions of patient experience at community pharmacies.

Methods: An online survey consisting of closed-ended and open-ended questions was used. Surveys were delivered to healthcare providers’ e-mails and self-administered. Surveys were administered through an online survey platform.

Results: In total, 332 healthcare providers, who were eligible to be X-waivered to prescribe buprenorphine, completed the online survey. Survey participants reported not having their X-waiver to prescribe buprenorphine or actively prescribing buprenorphine. The majority of participants were uncertain of potential barriers to filling buprenorphine prescriptions. Providers treating a mix of rural and urban patients reported being less likely to screen for SUDs. Although there were no rurality differences in SUD screening, providers who treat mostly rural patients reported a lack of SUD treatment options in their area.

Conclusions: Early detection of SUDs can help prevent negative health outcomes for patients. Regardless of patient rurality, providers should screen for SUDs and familiarize themselves with the patient’s experience when filling a buprenorphine prescription, along with possible barriers. Furthermore, providers should incorporate questions about their patient’s ability to receive buprenorphine to help ensure that patients are receiving proper and necessary treatment.

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