The Supply of Authorized Providers for Medication-Assisted Treatment in Ohio


  • Ariana Pitcher College of Public Health, The Ohio State University
  • Wendy Yi Xu Division of Health Services Management and Policy, College of Public Health, The Ohio State University



Drug Addiction Treatment Act (DATA), Health care workforce, Medication-assisted treatment, Opioid use disorder


Background: Ohio experiences among the highest drug overdose rates nationally. The Drug Addiction Treatment Act (DATA) of 2000 permits qualified clinicians to use medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to treat opioid dependency. This study characterizes clinicians authorized to perform MAT and examines whether these clinicians are geographically collocated in areas with higher opioid burdens. 

Methods: Data of DATA providers in 2019 came from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration. Opioid overdose mortality rates were extracted from the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps to represent disease burdens in local areas. The DATA provider density is represented by the number of DATA-waivered providers per 100 000 population for each county. We used Pearson correlational tests to examine the correlations between the local DATA provider density and the opioid mortality rate.

Results: Most of the DATA providers were physicians (57%), followed by nurse practitioners (27%) and physician assistants (4%). The average waivered provider density was 13.90 per 100 000 population. The local density of DATA providers and local opioid overdose death rates are moderately correlated (P < 0.001).

Conclusion: Physicians still represent most waivered providers in Ohio. While DATA providers were located in some areas with high needs for opioid treatments, our data suggest that other areas with high opioid burdens likely have an inadequate workforce supply to reduce opioid burdens. Without an adequate DATA workforce, policies that focus on MAT care access to address the opioid epidemic may be in vain.






Research Brief Reports