Speed Reads

opioid crisis

People seeking treatment for opioid addiction are often denied appointments

Researchers have discovered a troubling trend while looking into why so many addicts go without treatment in America.

As part of a study that covered the areas of the U.S. with the highest rates of overdose-related deaths, scientists discovered that about 40 percent of providers were unable or unwilling to provide an appointment to seek treatment. Even more concerning, the number of denied appointments was higher for people who were on Medicaid, which applies to "nearly 4 in 10" adults with an opioid addiction in the U.S., The Associated Press reported.

To conduct their research, two callers posed as adult heroin users, calling over 500 clinics in Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Ohio, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. The study, published on Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, paints a dire picture for opioid addicts who are trying to get help.

As for the difference between being uninsured and relying on Medicaid, while 38 percent of the calls were denied for people paying in cash, 46 percent were denied for Medicaid patients. It may be that "doctors have room in their schedules, but are shunning Medicaid because it pays less than other insurance," AP explained.

"I found it surprising how many calls I had to make before being offered an appointment," said Tamara Beetham, one of the researchers who conducted the calls. The number of calls and the frequency of being turned away can be a deterrent to people seeking addiction treatment, which makes this study a troubling revelation for people struggling with addiction across the country. Read more at The Associated Press.