Survey of Barriers and Facilitators to Prescribing Buprenorphine and Clinician Perceptions on the Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000 Waiver

Holly J. Lanham, Jennifer Papac, Daniela I. Olmos, Emily L. Heydemann, Nathalia Simonetti, Susanne Schmidt, Jennifer S. Potter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Importance: As opioid-related deaths continue to climb, methods to reduce barriers to prescribing buprenorphine for individuals with opioid use disorder (OUD) are needed. Recent conversations by state and federal authorities targeting low-threshold buprenorphine aim to reduce some barriers to prescribing buprenorphine; however, what remains unclear is whether removal of the requirement to obtain a waiver for prescribing buprenorphine through the Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000 (an X-waiver) will be enough to increase access to buprenorphine. Objective: To assess barriers and facilitators of obtaining an X-waiver and prescribing buprenorphine. Design, Setting, and Participants: This mixed-method survey study was conducted between September and December 2020; 607 office-based Texas clinicians were surveyed after they attended a buprenorphine X-waiver training course. All attendees between March 2, 2019, and February 28, 2020, were eligible to receive this survey; 126 responses were received (20% response rate: 81 physicians, 37 nurse practitioners, and 8 physician assistants). Data analysis was performed October 2021. Main Outcomes and Measures: Surveys measured the extent to which clinicians experienced 9 previously identified barriers during the waiver process and in prescribing buprenorphine. The survey included open-ended items assessing facilitating factors to obtaining a waiver and to prescribing buprenorphine for OUD. The barriers were analyzed using χ2tests of homogeneity. Qualitative data were analyzed using a constant comparative method. Results: Among 126 clinicians who responded, 61 (48.4%) had received an X-waiver; of these waivered clinicians, 22 (36%) were prescribing buprenorphine and 39 (64%) were not. "Complexity of X-waiver process," "Perceived lack of professional support and referral network," and "Getting started" were significantly different barriers among waivered and nonwaivered clinicians. Significant differences in barriers experienced between prescribers and nonprescribers were "Getting started" and "Accessing reimbursement for treatment." The most frequently mentioned facilitators involved changes to the waiver training and the need for networks connecting experienced clinicians with those in the initial stages of readiness for prescribing buprenorphine for OUD. Conclusions and Relevance: This survey study's results contribute new understanding of facilitators to obtaining the X-waiver and to prescribing buprenorphine. Furthermore, these findings suggest that to increase access to compassionate evidence-based treatment for OUD, clinicians need ongoing support and mentorship from experienced and knowledgeable clinicians. Interventions aimed at improving access to buprenorphine should focus on facilitating such networks to increase the number of clinicians who obtain an X-waiver and prescribe buprenorphine for OUD..

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E2212419
JournalJAMA network open
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 12 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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