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State Strategies to Maintain Opioid Use Disorder Treatment during the Coronavirus Pandemic

This brief examines the strategies being implemented by states to combat opioid use disorder (OUD) in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. As coronavirus cases increase exponentially and containment measures expand across the country, another public health emergency – the OUD crisis – continues to rage. COVID-19 presents a new set of barriers that make accessing these critical services challenging.

Treatment for OUD requires coordination and usually involves multiple providers across an integrated care team. While some medication-assisted treatments (MATs) can be provided through a monthly injection, most individuals receive MAT through daily oral medications that are usually provided in clinical settings. They are only prescribed for take-home doses in small amounts once a patient reaches stability.