Experiences of a national sample of qualified addiction specialists who have and have not prescribed buprenorphine for opioid dependence

J Addict Dis. 2006;25(4):91-103. doi: 10.1300/J069v25n04_09.


The limited availability of medication-assisted treatment has created a treatment gap leaving many opioid dependent individuals without access to appropriate treatment. Survey data from a national random sample of 545 addictions physicians with waivers to provide buprenorphine treatment under The Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000 are presented. During the first year, an estimated 63,204 opioid dependent patients were treated with buprenorphine; many were dependent on prescription opioids and were new to drug treatment. Prescribing physicians reported high treatment effectiveness and patient satisfaction, with minimal adverse reactions or evidence of diversion. However, many waivered physicians had not provided buprenorphine treatment. Prescribers identified challenges such as induction logistics, recordkeeping requirements, the 30-patient limit, DEA involvement, and limited patient compliance. Buprenorphine treatment could potentially reduce the treatment gap by providing safe and effective treatment for opioid dependence and by attracting patients who do not typically seek care at opioid treatment programs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Behavior, Addictive / rehabilitation*
  • Buprenorphine / therapeutic use*
  • Documentation
  • Drug Prescriptions / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Personnel / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Narcotic Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Professional Competence*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Narcotic Antagonists
  • Buprenorphine