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Facebook Live: Confronting Opioid Addiction

Three medications have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat opioid addiction: methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone. But access to them depends largely on where you live.

Methadone and buprenorphine are the two most popular options. But many California communities, particularly rural ones, have neither a methadone clinic nor a doctor who can prescribe buprenorphine.

More than 2,000 Californians died of opioid overdoses in 2016. About 12 percent of those deaths involved fentanyl, a deadly synthetic opioid painkiller that is 30 to 50 times more powerful than heroin.

On Tuesday, California Healthline columnist Emily Bazar and contributor Brian Rinker discussed the medications used to treat opioid addiction and the challenges of getting access to them. Among those challenges: Doctors must undergo eight hours of training before they can prescribe buprenorphine. Even then, they face limits on the number of patients they can treat.

To watch the discussion, which was recorded live, click on the video above.

This story was produced by KFF Health News, which publishes California Healthline, an editorially independent service of the California Health Care Foundation.

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