National and State Treatment Need and Capacity for Opioid Agonist Medication-Assisted Treatment

Am J Public Health. 2015 Aug;105(8):e55-63. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2015.302664. Epub 2015 Jun 11.


Objectives: We estimated national and state trends in opioid agonist medication-assisted treatment (OA-MAT) need and capacity to identify gaps and inform policy decisions.

Methods: We generated national and state rates of past-year opioid abuse or dependence, maximum potential buprenorphine treatment capacity, number of patients receiving methadone from opioid treatment programs (OTPs), and the percentage of OTPs operating at 80% capacity or more using Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration data.

Results: Nationally, in 2012, the rate of opioid abuse or dependence was 891.8 per 100 000 people aged 12 years or older compared with national rates of maximum potential buprenorphine treatment capacity and patients receiving methadone in OTPs of, respectively, 420.3 and 119.9. Among states and the District of Columbia, 96% had opioid abuse or dependence rates higher than their buprenorphine treatment capacity rates; 37% had a gap of at least 5 per 1000 people. Thirty-eight states (77.6%) reported at least 75% of their OTPs were operating at 80% capacity or more.

Conclusions: Significant gaps between treatment need and capacity exist at the state and national levels. Strategies to increase the number of OA-MAT providers are needed.

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use*
  • Buprenorphine / therapeutic use
  • Capacity Building
  • Health Services Needs and Demand / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Methadone / therapeutic use
  • Opiate Substitution Treatment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / drug therapy
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Buprenorphine
  • Methadone