Biomedical Sciences ETDs

Publication Date



More persons died from drug overdoses in the United States since 2000 than during any past years on record. There were approximately one and a half times more drug overdose deaths in the United States than deaths from motor vehicle crashes in 2015. Opioids, primarily prescription pain relievers and heroin, are the main drugs associated with overdose deaths. The 2014 data demonstrates that the United States opioid overdose epidemic includes two distinct but interrelated trends: a 15-year increase in overdose deaths involving prescription opioid pain relievers along with a recent rise in illicit opioid overdose deaths, driven by heroin. Natural and semisynthetic opioids, oxycodone and hydrocodone which are the commonly prescribing drugs, continue to be involved in more overdose deaths than any other opioid type. Prescription painkillers overdose death rates had declined in 2012 compared with 2011, and had held steady in 2013, but then a sudden increase of 9% was observed in 2014. Five states with the highest rates of drug overdose deaths in 2014 were West Virginia (35.5 deaths per 100,000), New Mexico (27.3), New Hampshire (26.2), Kentucky (24.7) and Ohio (24.6). Due to implementation of federal and state guidelines, laws and regulations along with education and various medical strategies, the drug overdose deaths in NM has declined by 7.5% and in 2015, the state has ranked as the eighth highest in the drug overdose deaths in US.

The long-term goal of this line of research is to decrease deaths and emergency department (ED) visits related to opioid overdose in the state of New Mexico. The overall objective of this specific initial project is to create a survey, by identifying the most frequent and impactful barriers faced by the buprenorphine prescribers and non-prescribers for treating the opioid addicted population in NM. The research study has one specific aim that is descriptive and exploratory in nature: To create a new survey that will later be used to assess the frequency of barriers associated with prescribing buprenorphine in New Mexico (NM) for treating opioid addicted patients. This contribution is also important because our new survey is potentially generalizable to any state in the United States to identify these barriers.


Buprenorphine, Opioid use disorder, MATs, Office based settings, Barriers, Physicians, Survey, Qualitative Study

Document Type




Degree Name

Biomedical Sciences

Level of Degree


Department Name

Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program

First Committee Member (Chair)

Teddy Warner, PhD

Second Committee Member

L. Olivia Hopkins, MD, MSCR

Third Committee Member

Timothy Condon, PhD

Fourth Committee Member

Andrew Sussman, Phd, MCRP