Buprenorphine, Harm Reduction, Medications for Opioid Use Disorder, Opioid Crisis, Opioid Use Disorder, Quality Assurance, Suboxone, Substance Treatment



  1. Palmer, Joshua DNP, PMHNP-BC, RN
  2. Mitchell, Ann M. PhD, RN, FAAN
  3. Schlenk, Elizabeth A. PhD, RN, CNL, FAAN
  4. Mullick, Prabir MD
  5. Lee, Heeyoung PhD, PMHNP-BC, FAAN


Purpose: The opioid crisis has contributed to the mortality, morbidity, and rising healthcare costs in the United States. Buprenorphine (BUP) is an effective medication for opioid use disorder. The aims of this quality assurance evaluation of a BUP program were to (a) evaluate the clinic's performance in illicit opioid abstinence and (b) identify patient risk and resilience characteristics to improve patient success in recovery with BUP.


Methods: A retrospective chart review of open (n = 35) and closed (n = 21) cases and a cross-sectional survey in open cases were completed. Adults (aged >=18 years) who completed 6 months of BUP treatment at a psychiatric clinic were included. Clinical performance was measured with percentages of opioid-negative urine and completed monthly urine drug tests (UDTs) for the first 6 months. Open cases were surveyed regarding risk and resilience characteristics (frequency of opioid cravings and triggers, therapy participation, and coping skills). Descriptive statistics, t test, and chi-square test were used to analyze data.


Results: Average opioid-negative urine was significantly higher in open cases than closed cases (88.57% vs. 74.82%; t = 2.885, p = .004). There was no significant association between open cases (61.4%) and closed cases (73.8%) in completed monthly UDT. Opening and closing of cases stabilized with mandatory monthly UDT. Most individuals reported therapy participation, minimal opioid cravings, and use of distraction to cope with chronic-pain-induced cravings.


Conclusions/Implications: This clinic met benchmarks leading to improved substance recovery. Recommendations include regular evaluations of UDT, cravings, and chronic pain; therapy participation; and continuous quality assurance activities.