Methamphetamine use and utilization of medications for opioid use disorder among rural people who use drugs

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Background: Methamphetamine use is common among persons with opioid use disorder. This study evaluated associations between methamphetamine use and treatment with agonist medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD, specifically buprenorphine, and/or methadone) in U.S. rural communities. Methods: The Rural Opioid Initiative (ROI) is a consortium spanning 10 states and 65 rural counties that included persons who reported past 30-day use of opioids and/or injection drug use between 1/2018 and 3/2020. Analyses were restricted to participants who had ever used opioids and had data on past 30-day methamphetamine use. Multivariable models examined the relationship between methamphetamine use and utilization of agonist MOUD. Results: Among 2899 participants, 2179 (75.2%) also reported recent methamphetamine use. Persons with methamphetamine use compared to those without were younger, more likely to have injected drugs, be unhoused, criminal justice involved, and less likely to have health insurance. Adjusted for age, sex, race, and study site, recent methamphetamine use was associated with lower relative odds of past 30-day methadone treatment (aOR=0.66; 95% CI: 0.45–0.99) and fewer methadone treatment days (aIRR=0.76; 0.57–0.99), but not past 30-day buprenorphine receipt (aOR=0.90; 0.67–1.20), buprenorphine treatment days in past 6 months: aIRR=0.88; 0.69–1.12) or perceived inability to access buprenorphine (aOR=1.12; 0.87–1.44) or methadone (aOR=1.06; 0.76–1.48). Conclusion: Methamphetamine use is common among persons who use opioids in rural U.S. areas and negatively associated with current treatment and retention on methadone but not buprenorphine. Future studies should examine reasons for this disparity and reduce barriers to methadone for persons who use opioids and methamphetamine.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110911
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
StatePublished - Sep 1 2023

Bibliographical note

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  • Amphetamine use
  • Methamphetamine use
  • Opioid use disorder
  • Substance use treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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