Using medication-assisted treatment for substance use disorders: Evidence of barriers and facilitators of implementation

Paul M. Roman, Amanda J. Abraham, Hannah K. Knudsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Scopus citations


The use of medications to treat substance use disorders (SUDs) has emerged as a potentially central part of the treatment armamentarium. In this paper we present data from several recent US national surveys showing that despite the clinical promise of these medications, there has been limited adoption of pharmacotherapies in the treatment of SUDs. The data reveal variable patterns of use of disulfiram, buprenorphine, tablet naltrexone, acamprosate and injectable naltrexone. After examining the environmental and institutional context for the adoption of pharmacotherapies, the specific organizational facilitators and barriers of medication adoption are considered. The paper concludes with a discussion of the minimal clinical and administrative guidance available to enhance adoption, the lack of client and consumer knowledge of medications that puts a brake on their adoption and availability, and the difficulties that must be surmounted in bringing new medications to market.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)584-589
Number of pages6
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors gratefully acknowledge the continued support of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism , and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Funding Information:
Funding for this study was provided by NIDA Grant R01DA14482, NIDA Grant R01DA13110, NIAAA Grant R01AA015974, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Substance Abuse Policy Research Program Grant 65111. NIDA, NIAAA, and RWFJ had no further role in study design; in the collection, analysis and interpretation of data; in the writing of the paper; or in the decision to submit the paper for publication.


  • Acamprosate
  • Buprenorphine
  • Disulfiram
  • Injectable naltrexone
  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Tablet naltrexone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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