This whole “opioid crisis” in this country only seems to affect those in lower economic counties. If you live in Beverly Hills or Martha’s Vineyard, no database tracks your meds. [I make this statement with no hard evidence to back it up, but I am researching this situation and will take it back if I need to. ]
A good friend of mine (who also lives in my poor little county) has been ill for a couple weeks. Not the flu, infection, or COVID. She was abruptly cut off her pain meds (sound familiar?) and is now dealing with withdrawal.
Is she in a treatment center? An outpatient program? Did her doctor prescribe lithium to lessen the chances of serious symptoms like heart attack, stroke, or death? No.
And why aren’t “they” helping her through this? Well, there is no budget item for anything other than tracking, then taking away their medication. She would be better off if she were an alcoholic or a heroin addict. “They” have treatment options like, methadone and lithium. Inpatient programs at nice facilities. Therapy to guide them through.
No one encourages the abruptly cut-off patients. They hear “get over it” or “suck it up.” “They” are literally hanging them out to dry.
I started researching medical journals and published findings regarding opiates and treatment. I was shocked to find out that there is a medication: buprenorphine, that can be used to assist opiate users.
If you do not want to wade through dry legal yada-yada – do not feel obligated. To summarize, they are saying that Emergency Room doctors want to take action starting in the ER. DEA, in agreement with their arguments have pulled restrictions on doctors prescribing buprenorphine to help opiate users.
- Sabrina Moreno
- Arielle Dreher [Quoted sections are copied directly from the source]
The overdose crisis is prompting more hospitals to initiate opioid addiction treatment in emergency rooms — a change welcomed by many behavioral health experts.
Yes, but: It’s resurfacing tension among providers over who’s really responsible for addressing the underlying problem of opioid misuse.
Why it matters: Discharged patients are customarily referred to substance use programs in communities. Addiction experts say administering a drug to treat dependence like buprenorphine in a hospital can dramatically reduce the odds of a patient relapsing and provide a critical intervention.
- But it’s still more common for the burden to be placed on patients to “go and figure it out themselves,” said Alister Martin, an emergency physician and founder of Get Waivered, a campaign pushing for more emergency departments to provide buprenorphine.
- Less than 10% of nearly 150,000 drug-related emergency visits resulted in a buprenorphine prescription between August 2019 and April 2021, per a University of Michigan study.
- In 2021 — nearly 20 years after the FDA approved buprenorphine — only 1 in 9 providers were licensed to prescribe it.
What’s happening: The year-end congressional spending package eliminated a requirement that clinicians undergo special training and register to prescribe buprenorphine — a factor doctors often cited as a barrier to offering treatment.
Sabrina Moreno, Arielle Dreher
- But some ER doctors “just don’t consider it part of their job” and view addiction as a “moral failing” instead of a medical illness, said Eric Weintraub, a psychiatrist who leads the University of Maryland’s Division of Addiction Treatment and Research.
- Some also don’t want emergency departments — high-volume businesses with high fixed costs — to be de facto substance use clinics treating many uninsured or Medicaid patients.
Quoted from the publication: Axios.com
This letter was received by the State of Utah from the DEA:
Letter from DEA:
On December 29, 2022, with the signing of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 (the Act), Congress eliminated the “DATA-Waiver Program.”
DEA fully supports this significant policy reform. In this moment, when the United States is suffering tens of thousands of opioid-related drug poisoning deaths every year, the DEA’s top priority is doing everything in our power to save lives. Medication for opioid use disorder helps those who are fighting to overcome opioid use disorder by sustaining recovery and preventing overdoses. At DEA, our goal is simple: we want medication for opioid use disorder to be readily and safely available to anyone in the country who needs it. The elimination of the X-Waiver will increase access to buprenorphine for those in need.
All DEA registrants should be aware of the following:
Utah Department of Commerce• Division of Professional Licensing (DOPL)
- A DATA-Waiver registration is no longer required to treat patients with buprenorphine for opioid use disorder.
- Going forward, all prescriptions for buprenorphine only require a standard DEA registration number. The previously used DATA-Waiver registration numbers are no longer needed for any prescription.
- There are no longer any limits or patient caps on the number of patients a prescriber may treat for opioid use disorder with buprenorphine.
- The Act does not impact existing state laws or regulations that may be applicable.
Separately, the Act also introduced new training requirements for all prescribers. These requirements will not go into effect until June 21, 2023. The DEA and SAMHSA are actively working to provide further guidance and DEA will follow up with additional information on these requirements shortly. Importantly, these new requirements do not impact the changes related to elimination of the DATA-Waiver Program described above.
Amazing. I hope the government actually goes through with this. It won’t cure everything, but it will help.