New NIH-Funded Analysis Funded Highlights Addiction Treatment Access Challenges for Adolescents

New analysis supported by the National Institute of Health (NIH) found significant access and cost barriers in adolescent residential treatment. Following up on research released last summer, researchers reviewed cost, wait times, and Medicaid acceptance at treatment centers offering residential services for adolescents. Of the 354 treatment facilities identified as offering residential care to patients under the age of 18, only 160 confirmed that they treated minors. Over half of the treatment facilities had a bed immediately available, and the remaining had a wait time that averaged 28 days. The average cost per day was $827, with 48% of centers requiring upfront payment, and the average rate of a 30-day stay was $26,000. While 57% of the centers that could utilize Medicaid payment did, only seven of the states that supported Medicaid coverage had beds readily available. Further, 23 states had zero facilities that accepted Medicaid.

The research also suggests that findings related to access, costs, and wait times, vary based on whether the facility is for-profit or non-profit. Forty-one percent of residential treatment centers reviewed were for-profit, with 77% having available space, whereas only 39% of non-profit centers had a readily available bed. The wait times also significantly differed; wait time at for-profit centers was an average of 19 days versus 31 days at a non-profit center. Cost was considered a major factor in accessing for-profit and non-profit treatments, with an average daily cost at a for-profit facility of $1211 versus a non-profit daily cost average of $395. Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Dr. Nora Volkow, commented on the findings, stating, “The ability to access timely, evidence-based treatment for addiction can be a matter of life and death, and the current system too often fails young people…WE need to make access to timely, affordable, and evidence-based care the norm across treatment settings.”

Articles & Resources

NIH—Residential addiction treatment for adolescents is scarce and expensive

NIH—Only 1 in 4 adolescent treatment facilities offer buprenorphine for opioid use disorder

CEPOP Weekly Opioid Report (June 19, 2023)

Health Affairs—Adolescent Residential Addiction Treatment In the US: Uneven Access, Waitlists, And High Costs

What We Have Been Listening To

Last week CEPOP Co-Convenor, The Honorable Mary Bono, launched the podcast, Sagely Speaking. The podcast will feature guests who are working to develop strategies and promote solutions that address the opioid epidemic. The inaugural episode features a discussion with Matt Capelouto, President of the Drug-Induced Homicide Foundation. Future guests include Representative Buddy Carter (GA), Rob Perry from Xomad, Dr. Keith Humphreys from Stanford Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Dr. Adam Leventhal from the USC Institute for Addiction Science, Lorraine Martin from the National Safety Council, and Rich Hamburg from the Safe States Alliance.

Listen to the first episode here.

What We Read Last Week

Several articles were published last week pertaining to the opioid epidemic, covering a variety of different components of the topic. Links to relevant articles are provided below.

STAT—Sen. Maggie Hassan on what Congress must do next to fight the opioid crisis

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Report—Why public health campaigns about opioid misuse work-or don’t

USA Today—She thought it was Xanax. She died of fentanyl poisoning. Just one fake pill can kill.

This Week’s Calendar

In the week ahead, there are no relevant events or hearings noticed at this time. In the event that there are any changes to the schedule for this week, we will make additional information available.

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