Federally Qualified Health Centers Can Expand Rural Access to Buprenorphine for Opioid Use Disorder in Arizona

Benjamin R. Brady, Rachel Gildersleeve, Bryna D. Koch, Doug E. Campos-Outcalt, Daniel J. Derksen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Medication for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) is recommended, but not always accessible to those who desire treatment. This study assessed the impact of expanding access to buprenorphine through federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) in Arizona. We calculated mean drive-times to Arizona opioid treatment (OTP) locations, office-based opioid treatment (OBOT) locations, and FQHCs clinics using January 2020 location data. FQHCs were designated as OBOT or non-OBOT clinics to explore opportunities to expand treatment access to non-OBOT clinics (potential OBOTs) to further reduce drive-times for rural and underserved populations. We found that OTPs had the largest mean drive times (16.4 minutes), followed by OBOTs (7.1 minutes) and potential OBOTs (6.1 minutes). Drive times were shortest in urban block groups for all treatment types and the largest differences existed between OTPs and OBOTs (50.6 minutes) in small rural and in isolated rural areas. OBOTs are essential points of care for opioid use disorder treatment. They reduce drive times by over 50% across all urban and rural areas. Expanding buprenorphine through rural potential OBOT sites may further reduce drive times to treatment and address a critical need among underserved populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalHealth Services Insights
StatePublished - 2021


  • Opioid substitution treatment
  • geographic information systems
  • health services accessibility
  • opioid-related disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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