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Identifying the most common barriers to opioid agonist treatment in an Australian setting

Version 2 2024-06-02, 22:47
Version 1 2023-08-17, 01:58
journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-02, 22:47 authored by NY Hall, L Le, Julie Abimanyi-OchomJulie Abimanyi-Ochom, M Teesson, Cathy MihalopoulosCathy Mihalopoulos
Background Opioid use disorder is a public health concern in Australia. Opioid agonist treatment (OAT) is effective at treating and minimising harm from opioid use disorder, yet is underused in Australia due to client barriers. Although these barriers have been reported, the barriers that are most important to clients is unclear. The aim of this paper was to determine the most important OAT barriers to Australian clients. Methods A cross-sectional, self-completed survey was given to 204 opioid-dependent clients who attended needle and syringe sites in Australia. Participants were given 15 OAT barrier statements, which they answered using a 5-point Likert scale (1 = strongly disagree, 2 = disagree, 3 = neutral, 4 = agree and 5 = strongly agree). The Likert scale data are presented using the count method and the mean Likert scores (for the whole sample and for subgroups). Results The two methods determined that the four most important barriers to OAT were stigma, lack of support services, no flexibility and enjoy using opioids. Furthermore, those who used prescription opioids (compared with heroin) were female or non-binary (compared with male), were not currently using OAT (compared with current OAT), were younger (compared with older) and had high dependence scores (compared with low dependence scores) were impacted more by certain OAT barriers. Conclusions Policies around improving support services, reducing stigma and increasing flexibility would be beneficial to reduce barriers to OAT in Australia. Second, certain groups were more vulnerable to OAT barriers, emphasising the importance to better tailor opioid treatment programs to these specific populations to increase treatment engagement.

History

Journal

Australian Journal of Primary Health

Volume

29

Pagination

445-454

Location

Australia

ISSN

1448-7527

eISSN

1836-7399

Language

English

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Issue

5

Publisher

CSIRO PUBLISHING