Stigma, lack of awareness linked to underutilization of medications that treat alcohol use disorder: B.C. study

published on July 27, 2023 by Becca Clarkson in CTV News Vancouver

A new study is highlighting a huge gap in the treatment of alcohol use disorder (AUD) in British Columbia, which researchers believe is largely due to a lack of awareness and stigma.

Findings published Tuesday by the BC Centre on Substance Use suggest fewer than five per cent of people with the disorder are accessing evidence-based treatment.

For the study, researchers took a random, 20 per cent sample of British Columbians between 2015 and 2019 in order to determine who met the criteria for moderate-to-severe AUD and whether those individuals received medications to treat the disease.

AUD is defined as a “a chronic and relapsing condition,” with clinical guidelines recommending at least three to six months of pharmaceutical intervention as a first-line treatment—including medications like naltrexone, acamprosate and disulfiram.

All three medications are approved by Health Canada and considered the “gold standard” for AUD treatment, the study explains…

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