Onsite buprenorphine inductions at harm reduction agencies to increase treatment engagement and reduce HIV risk: Design and rationale

Andres Perez-Correa, Bilal Abbas, Lindsey Riback, Megan Ghiroli, Brianna Norton, Sean Murphy, Andrea Jakubowski, Benjamin T. Hayes, Chinazo O. Cunningham, Aaron D. Fox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Despite dramatic increases in opioid use disorder (OUD) and overdose deaths, the U.S. has been unable to consistently deliver OUD treatment to those who need it. Syringe services programs (SSPs) can engage an out-of-treatment population of people with OUD that has elevated overdose risk. Buprenorphine treatment is safe and effective, and US regulations allow for prescribing from diverse locations, including SSPs. This study's objective is to test buprenorphine treatment initiation at SSPs. We hypothesize that offering onsite buprenorphine treatment initiation will improve OUD treatment engagement without reducing buprenorphine treatment effectiveness or safety. Methods: We will recruit 250 out-of-treatment SSP participants with OUD in a large urban area. Participants will be randomized to onsite buprenorphine treatment initiation or enhanced referral. Over 2 weeks, participants in the onsite treatment arm will see a buprenorphine provider twice at the SSP, receive weekly medication packs, and then their care will be transferred to a community health center for treatment continuation. In the control arm, within one week, participants will receive an appointment at the same community health center as in the intervention arm for buprenorphine initiation and continuation. Participants will be assessed with urine drug tests, questionnaires, and medical record review. The primary outcome will be engagement in buprenorphine treatment at 30 days. Secondary outcomes include buprenorphine diversion, opioid-free urine drug tests, and intervention cost-effectiveness. Discussion: Our study will contribute to the growing literature on SSPs as a conduit to OUD treatment. SSPs hold promise to deliver needed care to people with OUD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106674
JournalContemporary Clinical Trials
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • Buprenorphine
  • Low-threshold
  • Opioid use disorder
  • Syringe service programs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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