Practice predictors of buprenorphine prescribing by family physicians

Lars E. Peterson, Zachary J. Morgan, F. Borders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Introduction: Both opioid use disorder and mortality for opioid overdoses are increasing. Family physicians (FPs) can treat opioid use disorder if they are waivered to prescribe buprenorphine. Our objective was to determine personal, practice, and community characteristics associated with FPs prescribing buprenorphine. Methods: We used data from the 2017 and 2018 American Board of Family Medicine examination registration questionnaire. The questionnaire asked about current prescribing of buprenorphine, as well as about practice size, organization, and location. Logistic regression was used to determine associations between buprenorphine treatment and individual, practice, and county characteristics. Results: The questionnaire had a 100% response rate. After excluding FPs in noncontinuity practices and those who could not be linked to a US county, our final sample was 2726. Only 161 (5.9%) prescribed buprenorphine. Practice in a Federal Qualified Health Center (adjusted Odds Ratio [aOR] = 1.98 (95% CI, 1.08, 3.63)), in solo practice (aOR = 2.60 (1.38, 4.92)), or with a mental health professional (aOR = 2.70 (1.73, 4.22)) were positively associated with prescribing buprenorphine. Practice in a rural county or in a whole county mental health professional shortage area were not associated with buprenorphine prescribing. Discussion: Few FPs prescribed buprenorphine, but those in practice settings with supporting mental health services were more likely to prescribe. With their training in the biopsychosocial model and a more even distribution across the rural continuum, FPs are perfectly situated to meet the increasing need for medication-assisted treatment. However, ensuring they have supporting mental health services will be central to having more FPs provide medication-assisted treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-123
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Board of Family Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 American Board of Family Medicine. All rights reserved.


  • Buprenorphine
  • Family Physicians
  • Logistic Models
  • Mental Health Services
  • Opioid-Related Disorders
  • Opioids
  • Primary Health Care
  • Rural Health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Family Practice


Dive into the research topics of 'Practice predictors of buprenorphine prescribing by family physicians'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this