Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Addiction Science and Clinical Practice


Geisel School of Medicine


Background: Increasingly, treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD) is offered in integrated treatment models addressing both substance use and other health conditions within the same system. This often includes offering medications for OUD in general medical settings. It remains uncertain whether integrated OUD treatment models are preferred to non-integrated models, where treatment is provided within a distinct treatment system. This study aimed to explore preferences for integrated versus non-integrated treatment models among people with OUD and examine what factors may influence preferences. Methods: This qualitative study recruited participants (n = 40) through Craigslist advertisements and flyers posted in treatment programs across the United States. Participants were 18 years of age or older and scored a two or higher on the heroin or opioid pain reliever sections of the Tobacco, Alcohol, Prescription Medications, and Other Substances (TAPS) Tool. Each participant completed a demographic survey and a telephone interview. The interviews were coded and content analyzed. Results: While some participants preferred receiving OUD treatment from an integrated model in a general medical setting, the majority preferred non-integrated models. Some participants preferred integrated models in theory but expressed concerns about stigma and a lack of psychosocial services. Tradeoffs between integrated and non-integrated models were centered around patient values (desire for anonymity and personalization, fear of consequences), the characteristics of the provider and setting (convenience, perceived treatment effectiveness, access to services), and the patient-provider relationship (disclosure, trust, comfort, stigma). Conclusions: Among this sample of primarily White adults, preferences for non-integrated versus integrated OUD treatment were mixed. Perceived benefits of integrated models included convenience, potential for treatment personalization, and opportunity to extend established relationships with medical providers. Recommendations to make integrated treatment more patient-centered include facilitating access to psychosocial services, educating patients on privacy, individualizing treatment, and prioritizing the patient-provider relationship. This sample included very few minorities and thus findings may not be fully generalizable to the larger population of persons with OUD. Nonetheless, results suggest a need for expansion of both OUD treatment in specialty and general medical settings to ensure access to preferred treatment for all.



Original Citation

Saunders, E.C., Moore, S.K., Walsh, O. et al. “It’s way more than just writing a prescription”: A qualitative study of preferences for integrated versus non-integrated treatment models among individuals with opioid use disorder. Addict Sci Clin Pract 16, 8 (2021).