Date of Publication
Jan Carney, M.D.
Since 2017, there has been an increase in the frequency of mortality related to opioids in Vermont. Buprenorphine is a great alternative to traditional opioids because of its efficacy in treating opioid use disorder (OUD), however, it is underutilized by providers due to needing a specific waiver to prescribe it. This project looks at two different angles: is the number of Buprenorphine providers associated with the number opioid related deaths per county?; and does a rural setting in Vermont affect mortality rates due to a possible lack of Buprenorphine providers?
The incidence of overdose deaths per county to the number of buprenorphine providers per county were compared, as listed on the Vermont Department of Health website. Tukey HSD and Bonferroni statistical tests were run to measure a linear association between deaths per county and city town code (CTC). Grand Isle County was excluded from the analysis due to no deaths.
Counties with medium provider densities had higher numbers of overdose deaths compared to counties with higher and lower provider densities. Some limitations in the study included the lack of diversity and the inability to synchronize the Vermont mortality data registry from 2017-2019 to the date buprenorphine providers received their x-waiver.
Further research is needed to investigate if there needs to be a reevaluation of the hub and spoke program as well as the impact of other factors, such as age and cities, have any effect on the opioid related death rates in Vermont.
Chirico, Noah; Doe, Naw Ruth; Mesick, Alexandra; Dubuque, Amy; Cruise, Rachel; and Carney, Jan K., "Opioid Overdose Deaths in Vermont: Effectiveness of Buprenorphine Provider Density on Mortality Rates" (2021). Master of Public Health Culminating Projects. 22.