What’s the downside of easing treatment barriers for opioid use disorder? Elizabeth Tracey reports


If you’re taking methadone to help you overcome an opioid use disorder, it may involve a daily trip to a clinic to get your dose. Now temporary federal guidelines to ease that burden during Covid may become permanent as states decide whether to implement them. Eric Strain, a substance use disorders expert at Johns Hopkins, says there are some concerns.

Strain: I do worry that if we have a system which puts more methadone into homes there’s the risk of methadone diversion and misuse. And you might say well we’ve had this experience with buprenorphine where there’s buprenorphine in people’s homes through prescribing, but if people overdose on buprenorphine they don’t respiratory arrest typically but if somebody has say 10 take home doses of methadone and they decide to take five or six of them for whatever reason that could cause them to respiratory arrest.  :31

At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.