Barriers and Facilitators of Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Participation in Medication Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder


Joanne Spetz, Susan Chapman, Matthew Tierney, Bethany Phoenix, and Laurie Hailer

Jul 2021

The misuse of opioids is a health crisis in the United States. Medication treatment for opioid use disorder reduces negative health outcomes, but there are widespread shortages of appropriately trained and credentialed providers. Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) have recently become eligible for Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) waivers that allow them to prescribe the most common medication, buprenorphine, but many factors might constrain their full participation in opioid use disorder treatment. This study aimed to describe practice and regulatory barriers and facilitators to APRNs offering buprenorphine treatment. Qualitative findings indicate that waivered APRNs may not use the waiver due to practice and regulatory barriers. Requirements that physicians oversee APRN prescribing of buprenorphine may have slowed the growth of the opioid treatment workforce. Other regulations, organizational culture, and community support of buprenorphine treatment also affect APRN engagement in offering buprenorphine treatment.