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Aim: Project Access France was a national survey designed to provide real-world observations on the status of opioid dependence treatment in France.
Methods: The views of physicians (n=100), patients (n=130), and out-of-treatment opioid users (n=33) were collected via interviews and questionnaires.
Results: Physicians reported being moderately satisfied with treatment programs in their area (rating 6.9 out of 10). Most physicians (82%) reported being concerned about misuse and diversion of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) medications and 50% identified psychosocial/behavioral counseling as the key change that would most improve patient care. Among patients, the mean number of previous MAT episodes was low (1.5); 78% reported that it was easy to access a doctor to undergo MAT; 14% reported regularly or sometimes using heroin; misuse and diversion were reported in 15% and 39% of patients, respectively; and 57% of patients were not receiving psychosocial help. Out-of-treatment opioid users reported using drugs on a regular basis (42% regularly used heroin) and cited ‘not wanting to give up drugs completely’ as the most frequent reason for staying out of MAT.
Conclusion: This survey highlights a number of positive features of the open-access, GP-based treatment model for opioid dependence in France. Challenges remain with regard to continued misuse/diversion of MAT medications and limited patient access to psychosocial support.