Illicit buprenorphine use, interest in and access to buprenorphine treatment among syringe exchange participants

Aaron D. Fox, Adam Chamberlain, Nancy L. Sohler, Taeko Frost, Chinazo O. Cunningham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations


Poor access to buprenorphine maintenance treatment (BMT) may contribute to illicit buprenorphine use. This study investigated illicit buprenorphine use and barriers to BMT among syringe exchange participants. Computer-based interviews conducted at a New York City harm reduction agency determined: prior buprenorphine use; barriers to BMT; and interest in BMT. Of 102 opioid users, 57 had used illicit buprenorphine and 32 had used prescribed buprenorphine. When illicit buprenorphine users were compared to non-users: barriers to BMT ("did not know where to get treatment") were more common (64 vs. 36%, p< 0.01); mean levels of interest in BMT were greater (3.37 ± 1.29 vs. 2.80 ± 1.34, p= 0.03); and more participants reported themselves likely to initiate treatment (82 vs. 50%, p< 0.01). Illicit buprenorphine users were interested in BMT but did not know where to go for treatment. Addressing barriers to BMT could reduce illicit buprenorphine use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)112-116
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015



  • Access to care
  • Buprenorphine
  • Opioid addiction
  • Syringe exchange

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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