What Is the Geographic Distribution of the Workforce with a DEA Waiver to Prescribe Buprenorphine?

Research center:
Lead researcher:
Project funded:
September 2019
Anticipated completion date:
February 2021

Access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder (OUD) continues to be a challenge for many people, especially in rural locations. Many rural communities are planning strategies to expand access to MAT, and accurate information about the workforce with a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) waiver is crucial.

Nurse practitioners and physician assistants have recently become eligible for waivers, offering significant potential for expansion of the treatment workforce. This project will describe the supply and geographic distribution of the health workforce with a DEA waiver to prescribe buprenorphine to treat patients with OUD as well as examine trends over time. Using the current (2019) DEA list of waivered providers, we will identify and map provider locations and waiver capacity. We will also produce statistics on urban (metropolitan) vs. rural (nonmetropolitan) availability of providers, including sub-rural comparisons between micropolitan and non-core counties, using Urban Influence Codes. We will compare findings to previous research and highlight changes and trends in this workforce from 2012-2019.