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Study Finds Local Opioid Treatment Deserts Create Barriers To Overcoming Addiction

Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, is facing thousands of lawsuits seeking to hold it accountable for the opioid crisis.
Toby Talbot
/
AP

An Ohio State study finds that certain Columbus neighborhoods are opioid treatment deserts, which presents a huge barrier for those seeking help.

The study published in the journal PLOS ONE, identified neighborhoods that left those addicted to opioids without treatment within a mile or a 30 minute trip on public transportation.

Areas closer to major highways, main streets and downtown Columbus showed greater accessibility. Treatment deserts were common elsewhere in the county. It also showed that white adults had shorter travel times by public transit compared to Black adults.

Previous research suggests that the chances of someone staying in treatment drops by as much as 50% when the treatment provider is more than a mile away.

Ohio in 2017 had the second-highest drug overdose mortality rate in the U.S. or 46 deaths per 100,000 people.