Adolescent-Serving Addiction Treatment Facilities in the United States and the Availability of Medications for Opioid Use Disorder

Rachel H. Alinsky, Scott E. Hadland, Pamela A. Matson, Magdalena Cerda, Brendan Saloner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Adolescents with opioid use disorder are less likely than adults to receive medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD), yet we know little about facilities that provide addiction treatment for adolescents. We sought to describe adolescent-serving addiction treatment facilities in the U.S. and examine associations between facility characteristics and offering MOUD, leading to informed recommendations to improve treatment access. Methods: This cross-sectional study used the 2017 National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services. Facilities were classified by whether they offered a specialized adolescent program. Covariates included facility ownership, hospital affiliation, insurance/payments, government grants, accreditation/licensure, location, levels of care, and provision of MOUD. Descriptive statistics and logistic regression compared adolescent-serving versus adult-focused facilities and identified characteristics associated with offering maintenance MOUD. Results: Among 13,585 addiction treatment facilities in the U.S., 3,537 (26.0%) offered adolescent programs. Adolescent-serving facilities were half as likely to offer maintenance MOUD as adult-focused facilities (odds ratio, .53; 95% confidence interval, .49–.58), which was offered at 23.1% (816) of adolescent-serving versus 35.9% (3,612) of adult-focused facilities. Among adolescent-serving facilities, characteristics associated with increased unadjusted odds of offering maintenance MOUD were nonprofit status, hospital affiliation, accepting insurance (particularly, private insurance), accreditation, Northeastern location, or offering inpatient services. Conclusions: The one-quarter of U.S. addiction treatment facilities that serve adolescents are half as likely to provide MOUD as adult-focused facilities, which may explain why adolescents are less likely than adults to receive MOUD. Strategies to increase adolescent access to MOUD may consider insurance reforms/incentives, facility accreditation, and geographically targeted funding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)542-549
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent health services
  • Medication for addiction treatment
  • Medication for opioid use disorder
  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Opioid use disorder
  • Substance abuse treatment centers
  • Treatment facilities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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