Receipt of medications for opioid use disorder among youth engaged in primary care: data from 6 health systems

PROUD Collaborative

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Purpose: Little is known about prevalence and treatment of OUD among youth engaged in primary care (PC). Medications are the recommended treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD) for adolescents and young adults (youth). This study describes the prevalence of OUD, the prevalence of medication treatment for OUD, and patient characteristics associated with OUD treatment among youth engaged in PC. Methods: This cross-sectional study includes youth aged 16–25 years engaged in PC. Eligible patients had ≥ 1 PC visit during fiscal years (FY) 2014–2016 in one of 6 health systems across 6 states. Data from electronic health records and insurance claims were used to identify OUD diagnoses, office-based OUD medication treatment, and patient demographic and clinical characteristics in the FY of the first PC visit during the study period. Descriptive analyses were conducted in all youth, and stratified by age (16–17, 18–21, 22–25 years). Results: Among 303,262 eligible youth, 2131 (0.7%) had a documented OUD diagnosis. The prevalence of OUD increased by ascending age groups. About half of youth with OUD had documented depression or anxiety and one third had co-occurring substance use disorders. Receipt of medication for OUD was lowest among youth 16–17 years old (14%) and highest among those aged 22–25 (39%). Conclusions: In this study of youth engaged in 6 health systems across 6 states, there was low receipt of medication treatment, and high prevalence of other substance use disorders and mental health disorders. These findings indicate an urgent need to increase medication treatment for OUD and to integrate treatment for other substance use and mental health disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number46
JournalAddiction Science and Clinical Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Adolescents
  • Buprenorphine
  • Medication for opioid use disorder
  • Naltrexone
  • Opioid use disorder
  • Young adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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