Baltimore Buprenorphine Initiative


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The Baltimore City Health Department is proud to announce the Baltimore Buprenorphine Initiative. This collaborative effort with Baltimore HealthCare Access and Baltimore Substance Abuse Systems will dramatically increase substance abuse treatment options in Baltimore.

For decades, Baltimore has had one of the highest rates of heroin addiction in the nation and the demand for heroin treatment exceeds supply. We are bringing together substance abuse treatment centers, community health centers and primary care physicians to collectively join the fight against heroin addiction in Baltimore City.

The project has three major components:

  1. Recruiting physicians across the city to obtain a waiver to prescribe buprenorphine. Free training is provided to eligible physicians so they can obtain a waiver to prescribe buprenorphine. Physicians can contact Vanessa Kuhn at BSAS for information on how to access this training. (vkuhn(at)bsasinc(dot)org or 410-637-1900 x 286)
  2. Drug Treatment. Nine substance abuse treatment centers in Baltimore City funded by Baltimore Substance Abuse Systems provide drug treatment including dose induction, stabilization, and continuance on buprenorphine along with outpatient counseling to opioid dependent patients.
  3. Extended buprenorphine therapy. BHCA staff work closely with substance abuse treatment centers to enroll clients into available public benefits programs and transferring stabilized patients with pharmacy benefits to community-based physicians in community health centers and other settings. Currently, there are 58 community-based physicians who provide ongoing care, including buprenorphine maintenance, to patients enrolled in the BBI, but many of these physicians are reaching their maximum patient capacity.

This initiative was started in 2006. Since that time, over 3,000 patients have received buprenorphine and counseling through the program, and over 800 have transferred to community-based physicians. Of those transferred, 94% have stayed with those physicians for at least 6 months, and over 80% have continued in counseling for at least three months.

Instructions for Physicians who would like to obtain a waiver to prescribe Buprenorphine