News From Our Leaders

The Future of Opioid Use Disorder Treatment: COVID-19 and Beyond

January 27, 2021

This week, Dr. Lewei Allison Lin presented to the University of Michigan Addiction Treatment Services (UMATS) on a topic that has been at the forefront of healthcare in age of COVID-19: Telemedicine. While Dr. Lin has been giving this presentation on telemedicine for Opioid Use Disorder for several years, it is ever-evolving with new research findings and new topics of discussion. Now more than ever, telemedicine is standing in the spotlight in wake of a global pandemic but there still gaps in providing these services. So, Dr. Lin poses the questions: how can this infrastructure be sustained in the future and what are our current challenges in delivering this care?

“Studies have specifically highlighted that telemedicine, or the mechanisms of why telemedicine can increase care, include reducing stigma and improving accessibility”

Dr. Lin addresses some of the challenges involved in telemedicine for Opioid Use Disorder treatment, including increasing access to treatment and supporting providers to increase their delivery of buprenorphine treatment. Although there will be many more changes to the way we deliver OUD treatment and telemedicine in the future, Dr. Lin’s presentation covers the burning questions and hot topics many share today.

Check out the full presentation!

Depression Care Suboptimal for Patients With Comorbid Substance Use Disorders, Study Finds

October 30, 2020

Dr. Lewei Allison Lin, along with Drs. Lara Coughlin and Paul Pfeiffer, recently published their article, “Quality of Outpatient Depression Treatment in Patients With Comorbid Substance Use Disorder” in the American Journal of Psychiatry. The research shows that patients with co-occurring depression and substance use disorders may be less likely to receive optimal depression treatment than those with depression alone. For more about the article, visit the University of Michigan Department of Psychiatry blog. 

Rewrite the Script: Substance Use and Opioid Use Disorder

October 12, 2020

The hot topic on last week’s episode of The Wrap, Michigan Medicine’s podcast, was substance use during COVID-19. The Wrap interviewed Dr. Paul Hilliard, Medical Director for Institutional Opioid and Pain Management Strategy. Dr. Hilliard is a member of the Rewrite the Script team, a project working to help patients and community members manage opioid use disorder. The episode digs into the changes the state has witnessed in opioid overdoses and addiction care since the beginning of the pandemic. According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), there has been a significant increase in opioid overdoses; between April and June of 2020, opioid overdoses have increased by about 30% in the state.

“COVID has widened the gap in what resources we had for patients with a substance use disorder”

With the pandemic calling attention to the lack of resources for those living with addiction, Rewrite the Script has been working diligently to expand awareness and access to treatment. The team has engaged with Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Practice Transformation Incentives in their primary care clinics. Of the primary care clinics Rewrite the Script works with, about 87% have at least one provider who has their DATA 2000 Waiver and can now prescribe Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD). “[The providers] have received training because many of these providers have no specific background in Addiction Management,” Hilliard noted, “but we have been able to connect them with resources such as Michigan Opioid Collaborative.”

“Michigan Opioid Collaborative provides at-elbow support for these providers whenever they have a clinical question or they’re not familiar with how to treat these patients.”

Dr. Paul Hilliard

To hear more about Rewrite the Script’s efforts in Michigan to support addiction treatment and services, check out The Wrap podcast.

Dr. Lewei Allison Lin on Michigan Radio

October 1, 2020 

Michigan Radio interviewed MOC’s Principal Investigator, Dr. Lewei Allison Lin, in a recent article discussing the state’s efforts to combat the opioid crisis. Michigan will be receiving approximately $80 million in federal grants to fund programs with goals of harm reduction and treatment improvement. The Michigan Opioid Collaborative and the Michigan Opioid Partnership are two programs that will be receiving funding to continue our education, support, and treatment initiatives.

“As a state in particular, we have to think about how can we grow and sustain programs to make it easier for patients to get needed and effective treatments”

Dr. Lewei Allison Lin