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J Addict Med. 2016 Sep-Oct;10(5):352-6. doi: 10.1097/ADM.0000000000000247.

The Availability of Ancillary Counseling in the Practices of Physicians Prescribing Buprenorphine.

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Department of Psychiatry (DTB, BAM); Department of Internal Medicine (LEF, DAF), Yale University School of Medicine; APT Foundation Pain Treatment Services (DTB, TF, EN, JG), New Haven; and VA Connecticut Healthcare System (BAM), West Haven, CT.



We set out to examine physicians' perceptions of the provision of ancillary services for opioid dependent patients receiving buprenorphine.


An e-mail invitation describing the study was sent out by the American Society of Addiction Medicine to its membership (approximately 3700 physicians) and other entities (for a total of approximately 7000 e-mail addresses). E-mail recipients were invited to participate in a research study funded by the National Institutes on Drug Abuse involving completion of an online survey; 346 physicians completed the survey.


The majority of the 346 respondents were internal or family medicine (37%), or addiction medicine providers (30%), who were practicing in urban (57%) or suburban settings (27%). Most respondents reported either offering (66%) or referring patients for ancillary counseling (31%). Interventions that were most frequently offered or referrals provided were individual counseling (51%) and self-help groups (63%), respectively. Counseling availability differed significantly by provider specialization for any, individual, group, family or couples, and self-help groups.


Generally, respondents reported compliance with ancillary counseling requirements for buprenorphine treatment of opioid use disorder. In addition to examining the efficacy of a variety of ancillary counseling services for patients receiving opioid agonist treatment, further research should examine physicians' attitudes toward the role of such counseling in buprenorphine treatment. Although the study sample was relatively large, the generalizability of the findings is unclear, suggesting that further investigation of the availability of ancillary counseling in buprenorphine treatment among a larger nationally representative sample of providers may be warranted.

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