Year of Publication



Public Health

Date Available


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

Committee Chair

Dr. Terry Bunn

Committee Member

Dr. Dana Quesinberry

Committee Member

Dr. Timothy Prince


Objectives: To survey current physicians in Kentucky for the evaluation of their current management of patients with substance use disorder (SUD) with a focus on the identification of their current referral methods for linkage to SUD treatment and recovery support services.

Methods: The survey was sent by email to all 12,152 in-state physicians licensed in Kentucky; 524 responded. Addiction specialists, emergency physicians, and psychiatrists were categorized separately; internal and family medicine physicians were combined into one category; and all other specialties were grouped into an “Other” category. The results were analyzed using descriptive statistics and cross-tabulations.

Results: Of the 524 respondents, 271 (52%) said that they treated patients with SUD. Despite this, about 30% of them do not screen for SUD. Across all specialties (except for addiction and psychiatry), many providers refer patients with SUD to treatment without prescribing any kind of treatment themselves. For the percentage of patients that are willing to accept treatment, family medicine and internal medicine (FM/IM) physicians have the closest rates to addiction specialists and psychiatrists; however, only about 30% of FM/IM physicians know about Kentucky’s treatment and recovery placement website,

Conclusions: There are current gaps in screening and linkage to care, especially in internal medicine and family medicine physicians. Work is necessary to increase screening, build provider capacity to treat, and increase knowledge of substance use disorder treatment and recovery resources in Kentucky.

Available for download on Friday, January 01, 2027

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