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Integration of viral hepatitis services into opioid treatment programs

Thomas F. Kresina, PhD, R. Douglas Bruce, MD, MA, MSc, Robert Lubran, MS, H. Westley Clark, MD, JD, FASAM


Opioid treatment programs (OTPs) dispense methadone and buprenorphine under specific federal regulations to individuals diagnosed with opioid dependence. OTPs can provide a comprehensive therapeutic milieu, often including primary medical care, psychosocial counseling, vocational rehabilitation, ongoing performance monitoring, and other vital services. Because of the high prevalence of infectious diseases, particularly hepatitis C virus infection, model OTPs are developing comprehensive care and treatment programs that integrate general medical and infectious disease-related medical care with substance abuse and mental health services. Integrating hepatitis care services in the substance abuse treatment settings fosters access to care for patients with multiple comorbidities, many who otherwise would not receive needed care. Improving health related outcomes for this patient population with complex medical problems requires an advanced integrated model of care for OTPs that can be exemplified through establishing resources needed to prevent hepatitis infection as standard of care. Outcomes management becomes possible through enhancing current capability of existing dispensing programs. This may serve as a national model for highly cost-efficient healthcare that has a measurable outcome of improved health.


hepatitis, methadone, health services, opioid treatment programs

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