Opioids & Substance Use

As part of AHRQ’s Opioid Initiative, the Academy provides information to support those in primary care settings who are implementing medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder. The Academy also supports Primary Care MAT Grantees by offering technical assistance and disseminating resources about MAT in rural primary care practices. Learn more about the Academy’s Opioid & Substance Use Resources.

The items below highlight recent news, resources, and publications about opioid use disorder and MAT.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Opioid Initiative

Medicaid Coverage of Medication-Assisted Treatment for Alcohol and Opioid Use Disorders and of Medication for the Reversal of Opioid Overdose

This report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is a resource guide that describes Medicaid coverage of MAT for opioid use disorder and alcohol use disorder.

Drug Overdose Deaths in the United States, 1999-2017 (PDF—574 KB)

This data brief from the National Center for Health Statistics describes trends in drug overdose deaths based on analysis of mortality data from the National Vital Statistics System.

Drug and Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths — United States, 2013–2017

This study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds that nearly two-thirds of overdose deaths involved opioids in 2017 and that synthetic opioid-involved overdose mortality increased 45.2 percent between 2016 and 2017.

Drugs Most Frequently Involved in Drug Overdose Deaths: United States, 2011–2016 (PDF—335 KB)

This CDC report examines the specific drugs involved most frequently in drug overdose deaths between 2011 and 2016 in the United States.

Naloxone: The Opioid Reversal Drug That Saves Lives

This guidance from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services discusses the importance of access to naloxone and provides recommendations on when to prescribe naloxone.

National Trends in High-Dose Chronic Opioid Utilization Among Dually Eligible and Medicare-Only Beneficiaries (2006-2015) (PDF—1.09 MB)

This brief from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services examines prescription opioid use among two beneficiary populations.

Home Visiting Program: Supporting Families Impacted by Opioid Use and Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (PDF—451 KB)

This report from the Health Resources and Services Administration describes the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program.

Tools & Resources

Fundamentals of Addiction Medicine 40-Hour CME Program

This training program from the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) aims to empower primary care providers to diagnose and treat patients at risk for or with addiction. Other members of the healthcare team interested in learning more about addiction medicine may also participate.

Federal Resources for Rural Communities To Help Address Substance Use Disorder and Opioid Misuse (PDF—1.66 MB)

This guide from the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the U.S. Department of Agriculture provides links to Federal agencies, offices, and programs that may help rural areas address the opioid epidemic.

Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder: Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief

These proceedings from a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine workshop highlight the presentations and discussions during the meeting on the evidence base for MAT for opioid use disorder and current gaps in the research.

Snapshot of Major Federal Opioid Funding by State

This resource from the National Academy for State Health Policy summarizes the total Federal grant amounts State governments and other stakeholders have received to address the opioid epidemic.

Research Findings

Sources of Opioid Medication for Misuse in Older Adults: Results From a Nationally Representative Survey

This study in Pain identifies sources of misused opioid medications in adults 50 years and over and compares them with those of younger individuals.

Overcoming Barriers to Prescribing Buprenorphine for the Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder: Recommendations From Rural Physicians

This study in the Journal of Rural Health aims to identify strategies to overcome common barriers to prescribing buprenorphine.


Visit the events calendar to find webinars, conferences, and workshops related to opioid use disorder and substance use.


Three Ways States Can Boost the Impact of New Federal Opioid Legislation on Medicaid's Health Homes Program

This article from the Urban Institute describes lessons learned from States that have implemented Medicaid health homes for individuals with substance use disorders.

Innovative Approaches Can Help Improve Availability of Opioid Use Disorder Treatment (PDF--475 KB)

This brief from the Pew Charitable Trusts describes promising innovative treatment models that aim to improve patient outcomes among those with opioid use disorder.

The Next Stage of Buprenorphine Care for Opioid Use Disorder

This article in the Annals of Internal Medicine discusses the need to update and modify seven areas of common practice in buprenorphine treatment of opioid use disorder based on new evidence.

Deprescribing Can Mean Fewer Opioids, More Grateful Patients

This blog from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement discusses the need to decrease prescribing rates of opioids.

Guest Comment: NIDA Science Seeks Solutions to the Opioid Crisis

Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, wrote a guest editorial for ASAM on the institute’s initiatives to enhance pain management, prevent opioid use disorders and opioid-related overdoses, and improve the treatment of opioid use disorders.

Addiction in America: The New War on Drugs

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams participated in discussions about the Nation’s opioid crisis in a series of Washington Post events.


Explore the archived opioids and substance use news and resources: