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Adapting and scaling a single site DEA X-waiver training program to a statewide initiative: Implementing GetWaiveredTX.

Potter JS, Finley EP, King VL, Lanham HJ, Schmidt S, Schneegans S, Rosen KD. Adapting and scaling a single site DEA X-waiver training program to a statewide initiative: Implementing GetWaiveredTX. Journal of substance abuse treatment. 2021 Dec 13; 108688.

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OBJECTIVES: To address the critical need for opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment by rapidly planning and implementing a statewide DEA X-waiver training initiative expanding office-based OUD treatment in Texas by: (1) facilitating access to buprenorphine waiver trainings to targeted regions and health care providers across the state; and (2) supporting completion of DEA X-waiver requirements. METHODS: We used a transdisciplinary and theory-driven approach to adapt and rapidly scale up an existing, previously successful DEA X-waiver initiative. Pre-implementation activities included a literature review to identify OUD treatment barriers and demographic analyses to identify high-need areas of the state. We used geospatial mapping methods to identify regions with highest point prevalence of opioid-overdose mortality and low access to a buprenorphine provider. The study team used the Replicating Effective Programs (REP) framework developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support implementation of evidence-based practices. RESULTS: In six months, we trained 451 waiver eligible providers, 133 (29%) of whom received waivers by 6 months post-training. Of the 163 (36.1%) providers who completed the post-waiver evaluation, 97% reported that they were satisfied or very satisfied with the training. Our initiative delivered high quality education to providers and increased the number of waiver trainers in Texas from eight to thirteen. CONCLUSIONS: Despite recent changes to the DEA X-waiver process, barriers to treating OUD with buprenorphine remain. Lack of education and experience treating substance use disorders remains a significant factor in limiting clinician comfort in prescribing buprenorphine. The research team successfully adapted a Texas-wide initiative to increase the number of office-based providers eligible to prescribe buprenorphine for OUD from an existing single-site initiative. Attentiveness to barriers pre-implementation and to adaptations during implementation enabled moderate impact across a large network in a short time and facilitated program sustainment.

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