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Considerations for People with Co-Occurring Disorders When Implementing MOUD Programs

A patient's health status can affect retention and success with medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD). Rural organizations can implement specific approaches or strategies based on health status, including co-occurring behavioral health conditions, cognitive impairments, and other substance use.

One important implementation consideration for rural MOUD programs is the need to identify the substance use history of a patient presenting with opioid use disorder (OUD). Other substance use disorders that are likely co-occurring with OUD include methamphetamine, cocaine, alcohol, and benzodiazepine use disorders. Identifying whether a patient has a co-occurring substance use disorder can help inform an appropriate level of treatment and program involvement. Rural MOUD programs can integrate this assessment into patient screening procedures.

Similarly, identifying whether a patient has a co-occurring behavioral health condition or cognitive impairment can affect the level of treatment and program involvement necessary. Referral to and participation in therapy may be particularly helpful for patients who have identified behavioral health disorders.