Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 34, Issue 11, pp 2313–2315 | Cite as

Association Between the Number of Certified Buprenorphine Prescribers and the Quantity of Buprenorphine Prescriptions: Evidence from 2015 to 2017

  • Lee-Kai LinEmail author
  • Kosali Simon
  • Alex Hollingsworth
  • Brendan Saloner
Concise Research Reports


Increasing access to buprenorphine treatment for opioid use disorder is a key strategy for reducing overdoses.1 However, treatment capacity is limited because buprenorphine can only be prescribed by certified providers. To expand capacity, recent federal initiatives have increased the physician patient cap (which previously rose from 30 to 100 patients) to 275 patients, and have allowed nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) to obtain waivers.2 Previous research has shown that expanding buprenorphine prescribers for Medicaid populations leads to more buprenorphine prescriptions3; however, it is unclear if this relationship holds across all payer groups.


Our main outcome was the total amount of buprenorphine dispensed per capita in each 3-digit zip code, the area representing all standard 5-digit zip codes that share the first three digits, containing on average 349,511 individuals in 2010. The total buprenorphine dispensed in each 3-digit zip and...



Brendan Saloner received a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (5K01DA042139-02).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they do not have a conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lee-Kai Lin
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kosali Simon
    • 2
  • Alex Hollingsworth
    • 2
  • Brendan Saloner
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Economics Tunghai UniversityTaichungTaiwan
  2. 2.O’Neill School of Public and Environmental AffairsIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Health Policy and ManagementJohns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimoreUSA

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