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Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy

, 12:3

First Online: 11 January 2017Received: 04 May 2016Accepted: 19 December 2016DOI: 10.1186-s13011-016-0085-y

Cite this article as: Hewell, V.M., Vasquez, A.R. & Rivkin, I.D. Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy 2017 12: 3. doi:10.1186-s13011-016-0085-y


BackgroundOpioid use is a significant problem in Alaska. Medication-assisted treatment for opioid use, including buprenorphine, reduces withdrawal symptoms and the harm associated with opioid abuse. Understanding consumers’ treatment-seeking process is important for addressing barriers to treatment, facilitating effective service utilization, and informing policy.

MethodsTo understand treatment-seeking behavior, we examined the attitudes, perceptions, and knowledge of those who would benefit from the medication-assisted treatment MAT buprenorphine. Qualitative data from 2 focus groups each including 4 participants and 3 in-depth interviews with people who have used or considered using buprenorphine in treatment for an opioid use disorder were analyzed using grounded theory and directed content analysis approaches.

ResultsKey findings suggest that individual withdrawal process, individual motivation and systemic sociocultural, political, societal values factors frame the treatment seeking process. Participants’ progress on the treatment-seeking road was affected by models of addiction and MAT, which related to facilitators and barriers encountered in seeking treatment e.g. support, resources, treatment structure. These factors shaped the longer-term road to recovery, which was seen as on ongoing process.

ConclusionsThe findings of this study suggest it is crucial for interventionists to take a contextual approach that considers individual and systemic factors involved in opioid addiction, treatment, and recovery. This study highlights ways policy makers and treatment providers can address the barriers consumers face in their treatment-seeking process in order to increase treatment access.

KeywordsMedication-assisted treatment Qualitative research Opioid use Treatment-seeking Policy AbbreviationsFDAFood and Drug Administration

MATMedication-assisted treatment

NIDANational Institute on Drug Abuse

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Autor: Valerie M. Hewell - Angel R. Vasquez - Inna D. Rivkin


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