In 2019, 1.6 million people aged 12 or older, across the United States, reported an opioid use
disorder (OUD) in the past 12 months. This number likely underestimates the true prevalence of OUD.
Opioid prescription records reveal that the number of patients without a formal OUD diagnosis who
use opioids at high levels is five times the number of patients formally diagnosed with OUD.1 This
suggests that a significant number of individuals within primary care practices may need diagnosis
The primary care setting is a critical intervention point to increase diagnosis and treatment for
patients with OUD. The American Academy of Family Physicians asserts that primary care providers’ delivery of patient-centered and compassionate care to diverse populations uniquely positionsthem to address the needs of patients with OUD. This resource document provides practical, evidence-based information for primary care providers and practices on prescribing buprenorphine to individuals in need of intervention. It discusses implementation considerations and strategies for primary care providers and primary care organizations to facilitate their understanding, planning activities, and implementation of buprenorphine prescribing.
1 Caverly, M., Davenport, S., & Weaver, A. (2019). Costs and Comorbidities of Opioid Use Disorder: The Impact of
Opioid Use Disorder for Patients with Chronic Medical Conditions. Retrieved July 13, 2021, from https://www.
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