The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the expansion of access to opioid treatment in order to combat the opioid epidemic in the United States.
HHS is growing access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorders by enabling nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) to take the 24 hours of training required to prescribe the opioid use disorder treatment, buprenorphine.
Whereas physicians could only previously prescribe the medication, NPs and PAs who complete the necessary training can apply to prescribe buprenorphine for up to 30 patients beginning in early 2017.
“Today’s action will provide even more access to medication-assisted treatment,” said SAMHSA Principal Deputy Administrator Enomoto. “Allowing nurse practitioners and physician assistants to prescribe buprenorphine will greatly expand access to quality, evidence-based treatment methods for those most in need of assistance.”