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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 137020, 11 pages
Review Article

Use of Pharmacotherapies in the Treatment of Alcohol Use Disorders and Opioid Dependence in Primary Care

1Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Rockville, MD 20857, USA
2Division of Pharmacologic Therapies, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 1 Choke Cherry Road, Rockville, MD 20857, USA

Received 23 May 2014; Revised 22 August 2014; Accepted 10 September 2014

Academic Editor: Harry Hao-Xiang Wang

Copyright © 2015 Jinhee Lee et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Substance-related and addictive disorders are chronic relapsing conditions that substantially impact public health. Effective treatments for these disorders require addressing substance use/dependence comprehensively as well as other associated comorbidities. Comprehensive addressing of substance use in a medical setting involves screening for substance use, addressing substance use directly with the patient, and formulating an appropriate intervention. For alcohol dependence and opioid dependence, pharmacotherapies are available that are safe and effective when utilized in a comprehensive treatment paradigm, such as medication assisted treatment. In primary care, substance use disorders involving alcohol, illicit opioids, and prescription opioid abuse are common among patients who seek primary care services. Primary care providers report low levels of preparedness and confidence in identifying substance-related and addictive disorders and providing appropriate care and treatment. However, new models of service delivery in primary care for individuals with substance-related and addictive disorders are being developed to promote screening, care and treatment, and relapse prevention. The education and training of primary care providers utilizing approved medications for the treatment of alcohol use disorders and opioid dependence in a primary care setting would have important public health impact and reduce the burden of alcohol abuse and opioid dependence.