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How to Improve the Health of Women with Opioid Use Disorder (OUD)

We help women with opioid use disorder (OUD) identify options for treatment and recovery. OUD affects women at all stages of life.

How to understand the problem

Opioid use disorder (OUD) is a type of substance use disorder.

People with OUD misuse illegal, synthetic, or prescription opioids. Opioids include drugs like heroin, fentanyl, or oxycodone.

If not treated, OUD can lead to addiction, health problems, or death.

There are many treatments available for OUD, including Medication Assisted Treatment.

How we address the problem

We help HRSA providers improve care for women with OUD through our Regional Opioid Consultation Initiative: Patient and Family-Centered Treatment and Care Coordination Model for Women Served by HRSA Programs (PDF - 426 KB).

Our office and HHS Office on Women’s Health lead this project. This project is developing a model for how to coordinate care for women with OUD.

As a result of this project we developed Caring for Women with Opioid Use Disorder: A Toolkit for Organization Leaders and Providers (PDF - 5.8 KB).

How did we develop this model?

Phase 1 (2019)

  1. We completed a literature review. This identified best practices for care coordination for women with OUD.
  2. We consulted with federal and non-federal experts. This helped us get input from experts who work with women with OUD.
  3. We developed a Care Coordination Conceptual Model based on the information we gathered from the literature review and experts.

Phase 2 (FY 2020)

  1. We received feedback on the Care Coordination Conceptual Model from HRSA-funded health care sites.
  2. We consulted with federal, non-federal, and community experts.
  3. We developed a toolkit to help HRSA providers use the care coordination model.

What are the model's primary focus areas?

  • Health care settings
  • Individual providers
  • Women with OUD and their families

How we define success

Our success depends on sharing the model and toolkit with HRSA providers and helping them use it in their practices.

Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health (HHS OWH) (2017). Final Report: Opioid Use, Misuse, and Overdose in Women (PDF – 1.5 MB)

Date Last Reviewed:  November 2020