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Type: Journal article
Title: Examining the cost and impact of dosing fees among clients in opioid agonist treatment: results from a cross-sectional survey of Australian treatment clients
Author: Zahra, E.
Chen, R.
Nielsen, S.
Tran, A.D.
Santo, T.
Degenhardt, L.
Farrell, M.
Byrne, J.
Ali, R.
Larance, B.
Citation: Drug and Alcohol Review, 2022; 41(4):841-850
Publisher: Wiley
Issue Date: 2022
ISSN: 0959-5236
Statement of
Emma Zahra, Rory Chen, Suzanne Nielsen, Anh Dam Tran, Thomas Santo Jr, Louisa Degenhardt, Michael Farrell, Jude Byrne, Robert Ali, Briony Larance
Abstract: Introduction: Opioid agonist treatment (OAT) clients frequently bear costs associated with their treatment, including dosing fees. This study aimed to explore the financial and social impact of dosing fees upon clients. Methods: Cross-sectional survey of people who use opioids regularly (N = 402) between December 2017 and March 2018, conducted in Australia. Dosing fees were calculated and expressed as percentage of income, by OAT type. Consequences and strategies for difficulties making payments were examined as proportions. Results: A total of N = 360 participants had ever been in OAT and N = 245 participants currently engaged in OAT reported data on dosing fees, of them 53% (n = 129) reported paying dosing fees. Compared to clients with high levels of dosing supervision, those with moderate or low levels of supervision were more likely to pay dosing fees. The median 28-day dosing fee was AUD$110 (interquartile range AUD$80); median 28-day income was AUD$1520 (interquartile range AUD$700). For those who paid dosing fees, the fee comprised <10% of total monthly income for 70% of participants; however, 23% of participants paid fees comprising 10% to <20%, and 7% of participants paid fees comprising 20% or more of monthly income. Among those that had ever been in OAT, 72% experienced difficulties in paying treatment costs; 36% left treatment earlier than intended and 25% had been excluded due to payment difficulties. Discussion and Conclusions: Negative consequences of treatment costs to clients, particularly dosing fees, are evident. These costs impact treatment access and retention that may negatively impact clients' physical health, mental health and social wellbeing.
Keywords: Opioid use disorder; opiate substitution treatment; opioid medication-assisted treatment; buprenorphine; methadone
Description: First published: 07 February 2022
Rights: © 2022 The Authors. Drug and Alcohol Review published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd on behalf of Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
DOI: 10.1111/dar.13437
Grant ID:
Appears in Collections:Pharmacology publications

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