Methadone Is an Effective Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder

But stringent federal and state regulations keep patients from accessing evidence-based care

A nurse fills bottles with small amounts of liquid methadone for take-home prescriptions at a clinic in the Community Health Center in Akron, Ohio, Dec. 18, 2017.
TY WRIGHT/The New York Times/Red

Despite decades of research establishing methadone as a safe and effective treatment for opioid use disorder, opioid treatment programs (OTPs) remain the only health care facilities allowed to offer this medication.

But these facilities are heavily regulated at the federal level by the Drug Enforcement Administration and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and many states have placed additional regulations on OTPs, dictating where they can operate and the ways people receive care. Combined, these federal and state regulations prevent many people, particularly individuals in marginalized communities, from accessing evidence-based treatment.

Federal and state policymakers should consider measures that bolster methadone access. Pew’s substance use prevention and treatment initiative is exploring strategies for doing so.

OUR WORK

National Homeownership Month

Article

37 Researchers Working to Transform Biomedical Science

Quick View
Article

Biomedical researchers are on the front lines of scientific innovation. From responding to global pandemics to pioneering lifesaving cancer treatments, these researchers push past scientific boundaries to solve pressing health challenges. For nearly 40 years, The Pew Charitable Trusts has supported more than 1,000 early-career biomedical scientists committed to this discovery.

A man receives three bottles of diluted methadone syrup to take home at Ar-Rahman's mosque, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on February 16, 2012. (Rahman Roslan/The New York Times)
A man receives three bottles of diluted methadone syrup to take home at Ar-Rahman's mosque, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on February 16, 2012. (Rahman Roslan/The New York Times)

How Other Countries Approach Methadone Treatment

Quick View

Methadone is one of three Food and Drug Administration-approved treatments for opioid use disorder (OUD) and a lifesaving medication: Decades of research show that it reduces overdoses and helps people stay in treatment.

Composite image of modern city network communication concept

Learn the Basics of Broadband from Our Limited Series

Sign up for our four-week email course on Broadband Basics

Quick View

How does broadband internet reach our homes, phones, and tablets? What kind of infrastructure connects us all together? What are the major barriers to broadband access for American communities?

What Is Antibiotic Resistance—and How Can We Fight It?

Sign up for our four-week email series The Race Against Resistance.

Quick View

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as “superbugs,” are a major threat to modern medicine. But how does resistance work, and what can we do to slow the spread? Read personal stories, expert accounts, and more for the answers to those questions in our four-week email series: Slowing Superbugs.