The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Announces Actions Expanding Access to Addiction Medicine
On March 23, 2022, the DEA announced a new option for DEA-registered practitioners working in hospitals, clinics, or emergency rooms, and for DEA-registered hospitals/clinics that allow practitioners to operate under their registration number. Per this new option, the DEA will grant requests for an exception to the one-day supply limitation in 21 CFR 1306.07(b) to allow for the dispensing of up to a three-day supply of narcotic drugs, including buprenorphine and methadone, “to a person for the purpose of relieving acute withdrawal symptoms when necessary while arrangements are being made for referral for treatment.” Consistent with Pub. L. 116-215, the DEA will grant such exception requests while it works to amend 21 CFR 1306.07(b) as directed by said law.
As part of this effort to save lives in the opioid overdose crisis, the DEA also announced that it is working to make permanent its COVID-19 public health emergency temporary regulations allowing for the initiation of buprenorphine for opioid use disorder by telemedicine.
Finally, the DEA said it is, in partnership with HHS, “engaging in regular outreach with pharmacists and practitioners to express support for the use of medication-assisted treatment for those suffering from substance use disorder.”
ASAM is grateful for these actions, as it has advocated consistently for expanding access to addiction medicine.
Buprenorphine Prescribing Protocols
Recent federal Practice Guidelines from SAMHSA have allowed for an alternative Notice of Intent to Prescribe (NOI) for those seeking to treat up to 30 patients.