The Biden administration quietly eliminated a barrier to medication for opioid addiction


In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Biden highlighted. Recent policy changes aimed at increasing access to medication for opioid use disorder.”Together, we passed a law to make it easier for doctors. To prescribe effective treatment for opioid addiction,” he said.

He was referring to a provision tucked into the omnibus funding bill. Which Biden signed into law in December. It eliminated a requirement that medical providers obtain special discounts. For buprenorphine, a pain reliever that also reduces opioid cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

The requirement was in place for two decades, and for some workers it was a reversal priority because. The policy discouraged doctors from prescribing the drug. To get the waiver — known as an “X-waiver” — providers had to complete an 8- or 24-hour training, depending on their experience level.Once they received a waiver, they were subjec. To random Drug Enforcement Administration audits. And were limited in the number of patients they could prescribe buprenorphine for.

A study found that only 10% of primary care providers in the United States were certified. To prescribe buprenorphine from 2007 to 2017.

“The waiver requirement has really served to limit access to an effective treatment. For opioid use disorder Biden during an unprecedented opioid crisis. Said Lindsey Vuolo, vice president of health law. And policy at the nonprofit Partnership to End Addiction.

Jennifer Potter, vice president of research at UT Health San Antonio. Said medical experts “have been looking to get rid of remission for years, a decade or more.”

Most of the scientific evidence suggests that medication is the most effective treatment. For opioid use disorder; Buprenorphine and methadone are the two leading options. A 2018 study found that methadone Biden  reduced opioid overdose deaths by 59%. And buprenorphine by 38% in the absence of medication-assisted treatment.

Buprenorphine is “actually safer than most opioids that we prescribe. An general care settings,” said Dr. Margaret Loewenstein. An assistant professor of medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

At home like other prescription drugs. Usually as a tablet or thin strip that dissolves under the tongue.

Due to recent policy changes, any provider can prescribe buprenorphin. As long as they have a DEA number. Which allows them to write prescriptions for controlled substances.

The change comes amid skyrocketing opioid overdose deaths: Provisional data from. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that these deaths rose 15% from 2020 to 2021. Overdose deaths.

The Biden administration quietly eliminated a barrier to medication for opioid addiction

From synthetic opioids (excluding methadone) increased 97-fold from 1999 to 2021. According to data from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Most of these deaths were linked to fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin.

“Fentanyl is killing more than 70,000 Americans a year. Biden said in Tuesday’s remarks, citing CDC estimates.

New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan originally proposed eliminating. The waiver rule in a bill introduced in 2021. Ultimately, it was folded into universality.

“While we need to do more to address this crisis — including educating doctors and nurses. About medication-assisted treatment — our legislation. Is an important step toward helping more Americans access this gold. Standard of treatment,” Hassan said in a statement to todaystrend news.

Until the waiver rules ended, access to buprenorphine was especially difficult. For people of color and those living in rural areas, medical and policy experts said. Old policies also stigmatized drugs, they said.

said Dr. Brian Hurley. Medical director of the Division of Substance Abuse Prevention. And Control at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. at health.

But Hurley and Potter both questioned whether eliminating. The waiver requirement would make a significant difference.

“People have this Biden  idea that treating addiction is necessarily complicated. Or difficult or somehow undesirable,” Hurley said.

He added that about 1,000 people he trained to get X-waiver. LA. Only one-quarter of buprenorphine was prescribed through the county’s public health system.

“The bill alone is not going to cover a whole bunch of buprenorphine access,” he said. “We still have work to do to prepare physicians Biden and systems to treat people with opioid use disorder.”

Vuolo said co-pays or drug costs pose additional barriers for some patients.”We continue

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