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Background Adult opioid use and neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) are growing public health problems in the United States (U.S.). Our objective was to determine how opioid use disorder treatment access impacts the relationship between adult opioid use and NAS.
Methods We conducted a cross-sectional state-level ecologic study using 36 states with available Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project State Inpatient Databases in 2014. Opioid use disorder treatment access was determined by the: 1) proportion of people needing but not receiving substance use treatment, 2) density of buprenorphine-waivered physicians, and 3) proportion of individuals in outpatient treatment programs (OTPs). The incidence of NAS was defined as ICD-9 code 779.5 (drug withdrawal syndrome in newborn) from any discharge diagnosis field per 1000 live births in that state.
Results Unmet need for substance use disorder treatment correlated with NAS (r = 0.54, 95% CI: 0.26–0.73). The correlation between adult illicit drug use/dependence and NAS was higher in states with a lower density of buprenorphine-waivered physicians and individuals in OTPs.
Conclusions Measures of opioid use disorder treatment access dampened the correlation between illicit drug use/dependence and NAS. Future studies using community- or individual-level data may be better poised to answer the question of whether or not opioid use disorder treatment access improves NAS relative to adult opioid use.
© The Author(s). 2019 Open Access. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
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VCU Pediatrics Publications