U.S. adults with opioid use disorder living with children: Treatment use and barriers to care

J Subst Abuse Treat. 2018 Oct;93:31-37. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2018.07.011. Epub 2018 Jul 25.


Background: U.S. Adults with an opioid use disorder who live with a child have unique treatment needs, but little is known about the treatment use of these adults.

Methods: Data come from the 2010-2014 versions of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an annual, nationally representative survey assessing substance use in the United States. Adults (>18) with a heroin or pain-reliever use disorder living in a household with a child (<18) were compared to adults not living with children on their use of substance use treatment, treatment settings, payment sources, perceived unmet need for treatment, and barriers to care using logistic regression to adjust for demographic differences between groups.

Results: Of the 820,000 adults with an opioid use disorder living with at least one child, 28% reported receiving any past-year substance use treatment, a rate comparable to adults not living with a child (30%). Among adults reporting unmet treatment need, those who lived with a child were more likely to report that access barriers like not being able to find the right kind of program (aOR 2.9, 95% CI 1.2-7.1), as well as stigma (aOR 4.1, 95% CI 1.5 to 11.2), kept them from receiving care.

Conclusion: Most adults with opioid use disorder who live with a child are not receiving any substance use treatment. Efforts to expand opioid use disorder treatment programs must include investment in programs that meet the specialized needs of families.

Keywords: Child welfare; Opioids; Substance use treatment; Treatment access.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Family Characteristics*
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Health Surveys
  • Heroin Dependence / epidemiology*
  • Heroin Dependence / rehabilitation
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / rehabilitation
  • Social Stigma
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult