Year of Publication



Public Health

Date Available


Degree Name

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

Committee Chair

William G. Pfeifle, EdD, MBA

Committee Member

Julia F. Costich, PhD, JD

Committee Member

Richard C. Ingram, DrPH


Abstract Background: Prescription opioid drug overdose mortality rates have surpassed those of motor vehicle accidents in Kentucky. While opioid overdose plagues the state, buprenorphine is an FDA approved medication that has proven effective in treating opioid dependence. Objectives: This study examined the supply of licensed buprenorphine providers and community treatment centers in each county of Kentucky along with the need for treating opioid use disorder in each county. Methods: Licensed buprenorphine physicians and community treatment centers prescribing buprenorphine were identified through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration online treatment locator. The need for treatment was measured by calculating the crude opioid overdose hospitalization rates in each county, year 2008 through 2012. Results: Results of this study conclude Eastern Kentucky has the greatest need for opioid treatment along with a small pocket of Northern Kentucky. Forty six percent of Kentucky counties (n=56) have at least one licensed buprenorphine physician and eight counties house community treatment centers prescribing buprenophine. Discussion: The need for treatment is greater than the current supply of physicians and treatment centers. Figures included in this study illustrate clearly where current treatment providers are located and where need is most prevalent. Conclusion: Future policy must address gaps in treatment supply and treatment needs to identify treatment solutions and curb opioid dependence. Buprenorphine is the gold-star standard in opioid dependence treatment and requires significantly less resources then other types of opioid treatment.

Included in

Public Health Commons