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Substance Use Disorder & Addiction Treatment Innovators’ Playbook

An estimated 109,680 individuals in the United States died from a drug overdose in 2022, according to the CDC. Additionally, in recent years, drug overdose deaths among those between 12 and 17 nearly doubled on an annual basis.

Innovative advancements in substance use disorder (SUD) and addiction treatment continue to lag compared with other complex diseases and disorders. Venture capital firms simply don’t invest as much in addiction treatment as it does in treatment for diseases like cancer, which received nearly 270 times the venture funding in the past 10 years. Sunwave Health is determined to identify the innovation needed to change the course of addiction treatment in the U.S. with the Substance Use Disorder & Addiction Treatment Innovator’s Playbook.

Innovation at the Front Lines

We set out to gather information from those closest to addiction treatment today—providers, community and policy organizations, and insurance payers.

  • Providers – Treatment providers carry an undue administrative workload that distracts from patient care. The professionals we interviewed recognize a constant battle for treatment authorizations and reimbursements that consumes resources and limit their autonomy in determining the best course of treatment.
  • Community and policy organizations – Barriers to treatment like family, housing status, provider access, rural location, and insurance exist across communities. Experts we interviewed identified the benefits of telehealth for medication-assisted treatment but are concerned about the future of these programs.
  • Payers – Working toward parity—equal access to physical and mental health treatment—has uncovered unique challenges for insurance payers. Our experts pointed out that value-based care is often constrained by treatment duration, a major factor in successful outcomes. These limitations and the industry’s lag with a framework to improve health, enhance experiences, reduce costs, and minimize burnout display the need for better funding and incentive plans.

The industry leaders we interviewed go in-depth about these topics and more in our playbook.

Download the Substance Use Disorder & Addiction Treatment Innovator’s Playbook now for the full report.