Drug treatment of veterans with opioid use disorder increased during the first year of the pandemic, according to a new study, suggesting that the rapid shift from in-person to telehealth visits at VA medical centers enabled patients to get access to care despite Covid-related disruptions.
The study, published Thursday in the American Journal of Psychiatry, found that the number of Veterans Health Administration patients receiving buprenorphine for opioid use disorder increased 14% in the first year of the pandemic compared with the preceding 12 months. This coincided with a huge jump in use of telephone and video telehealth visits for prescribing buprenorphine, from 11.9% of visits in March 2019 to 82.6% in February 2021.
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