The United States Drug Enforcement Administration today announced a deregulatory measure that will make it easier for residents of underserved areas to receive treatment for opioid addiction.
As published today in the Federal Register, nurse practitioners and physician assistants can now become DATA-Waived qualifying practitioners, which gives them authority to prescribe and dispense the opioid maintenance drug buprenorphine from their offices. Prior to the enactment of the Drug Abuse Treatment Act of 2000, only physicians could treat opioid addicts and had to register with DEA as both physicians and operators of Narcotic Treatment Programs. Waiving this second registration prompted more physicians to offer treatment services. The Federal Register notice is available here.
Today’s action brings DEA regulations into conformity with the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act passed by Congress and signed into law in 2016. Because the vast majority of DATA-Waived physicians prior to CARA served urban areas, rural parts of the United States were underserved. This action provides more treatment options for addicts in rural parts of the country.
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