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A Multi-Level Analysis of Counselor Attitudes Toward the Use of Buprenorphine in Substance Abuse Treatment.

Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 2011;41(4):374-385. [doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2011.05.005]

Traci R. Rieckmann, PhD (Oregon Health & Science University), Anne E. Kovas, MPH (Oregon Health & Science University), Bentson H. McFarland, MD, PhD (Oregon Health & Science University), Amanda J. Abraham, PhD (University of Georgia, Athens).

Despite evidence that buprenorphine is effective, safe, and easier for patients to access than methadone, implementation of this medication for treatment of opiate dependence continues to be weak. Research indicates that legal and regulatory factors, state policies, and organizational and provider variables affect adoption of buprenorphine. This analysis of National Treatment Center Study (NCTS) data, which includes data collected from substance abuse treatment centers affiliated with the National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network (CTN), used hierarchical linear modeling to identify counselor characteristics (attitudes, training, and beliefs) and organizational factors (accreditation, caseload, access to buprenorphine, and other evidence-based practices) that influence implementation of buprenorphine for treatment of opiate dependence. Analyses showed that provider training about buprenorphine, higher prevalence of opiate-dependent clients, and less treatment program emphasis on a 12-step model predicted greater counselor acceptance and perceived effectiveness of buprenorphine. Results also indicate that program use of buprenorphine for any treatment purpose (detoxification, maintenance, and/or pain management) and time (calendar year in data collection) was associated with increased diffusion of knowledge about buprenorphine among counselors and with more favorable counselor attitudes toward buprenorphine.

Conclusions: Overall, these findings suggest that (a) specific training about buprenorphine is useful, (b) counselors' attitudes toward buprenorphine are improving over time, and (c) having a program-wide treatment philosophy that does not emphasize a 12-step model facilitates implementation. As a critical link to the diffusion of medications, the important role of counselors and associated efforts to improve their willingness to suggest buprenorphine to their clients cannot be ignored. (Article (Peer-Reviewed), PDF, English, 2011)

Keywords: Adoption of interventions | Attitudes of health personnel | Buprenorphine | Community health services | Counselors | CTN platform/ancillary study | Evidence-based treatment | Heroin | National Treatment Center Study (NTCS) | Opioid dependence | Pain management | Pharmacological therapy | Prescription-type opiates | Training | Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment (journal)

Document No: 720, PMID: 21821379, PMCID: PMC3486698.

Submitted by CTN Dissemination Librarians, 8/22/2011.


Abraham, Amanda J. mail
Kovas, Anne E.
McFarland, Bentson H. mail
Rieckmann, Traci R. mail

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Supported by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to the University of Washington Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute.
The materials on this site have neither been created nor reviewed by NIDA.
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