Late last month, the Biden administration took action to significantly reduce barriers to one of the most effective opioid treatments, a Medication-Assisted Treatment known by the name Suboxone or buprenorphine. With the new guidelines, there will be significantly fewer requirements for medical professionals to help people with opioid addiction. The new policy will give more people access to safe and effective treatment to help them get sober. It will help people who live in rural areas without drug treatment centers, too.
Reduced MAT Training Requirement
Prior requirements for prescribing medication like Suboxone were stringent. A doctor had to take a 30-hour training course and become recertified every year. Doctors also had to ensure the patient went to treatment or therapy as a requirement for MAT. Some doctors felt like they were forced to be treatment counselors, a burden that made many decide the training wasn’t worth it.
The new changes open the doors to doctors, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and other professionals. Many ER doctors are willing to help people get sober after an overdose but can’t dedicate the time to overseeing their recovery efforts.
Prescribing Limits for MAT
Every doctor has a limit to how many patients he can prescribe Suboxone. Thirty of his or her patients can be on Mat at the same time. Now, more than one doctor at a medical or treatment facility will be permitted to write prescriptions.
More doctors who can prescribe MAT are a good thing. It means that people who admit an opioid use disorder can be offered help wherever they ask for it. People who can’t find a treatment bed can still do treatment online or go to 12-step meetings. MAT has quickly become the gold standard for opioid use disorder, and increased access to it will save lives.
Justice System Also Benefits
Many people who enter the criminal justice system live with addiction. Jail may be the first time they have been sober in years. Unfortunately, this usually means painful withdrawal that they deal with on their own. Now, MAT is becoming a standard treatment drug to help inmates get sober and stay sober once they are discharged. The new guidelines will help all prisons increase access if they choose to.