Trends in Abstinence and Retention Associated with a Medication-Assisted Treatment Program for People with Opioid Use Disorders

Prog Community Health Partnersh. 2020;14(1):43-54. doi: 10.1353/cpr.2020.0007.


Background: Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is an evidence-based program for patients with opioid use disorders. Yet, within the state of Utah, MAT had not been widely available, promoted, or adopted within the public sector. Recognizing the potential benefit, a collective impact approach was used to promote social change and increase the use of MAT in the community for treatment of opioid use disorders.

Objective: Conduct a retrospective, observational case series study to measure the effect of a community-based, collective impact approach implementing the MAT program to improve the rate of abstinence and retention among individuals identified with an opioid use disorder in three Utah counties.

Methods: The study was designed and implemented by the Utah Opioid Community Collaborative (OCC) using a collective impact approach, which included broad sector coordination (public-private collaboration), a common agenda, participation in mutually reinforcing activities, continuous communication, consistent measurement of results, and identification of a backbone organization. The MAT intervention program includes use of medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies delivered within two community sites. Analysis was performed over time to describe the rate of abstinence and retention associated with participation in the MAT program during 2015 through 2017.

Results: Of the 339 identified with risk of an opioid use disorders, 228 enrolled in the MAT Program. At MAT enrollment, average age was 32.6 ± 8.2 years old and 58.0% were female. At 365 days after MAT enrollment, 84% of participants were abstinent from opioid substances and 62% from all illicit substances.

Conclusions: Use of a collective impact approach provides a successful mobilization framework in Utah for increasing community engagement and expanding patient access to underresourced MAT programs while suggesting a high rate of abstinence from illicit substances at 12 months.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't