Today, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced that HHS will move to revise the regulations related to the prescribing of buprenorphine to treat opioid dependence.
“We have heard from many stakeholders and leaders that the current capacity does not meet demand,” Burwell said. “So today I’m proud to announce that our department will revise the regulations related to buprenorphine to safely and effectively increase access.”
Under current regulations, physicians who are trained and certified to prescribe buprenorphine may obtain a waiver to prescribe it for up to 30 patients initially. After one year, they can request authorization to prescribe for up to a maximum of 100 patients.
According to HHS, the revision to the regulation will be developed to provide a balance between expanding the supply of buprenorphine, encouraging use of evidence-based medication-assisted treatment, and minimizing the risk of drug diversion.
Burwell indicated that state and federal leaders must take a coordinated and comprehensive approach to the opioid crisis in the United States. She also encouraged the use of state prescription drug monitoring programs.
At the kickoff to the two day national meeting of delegates, Burwell also announced $1.8 million in awards to rural communities for training and expanded access to naloxone.