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February 25, 2021

Removing One Barrier to Opioid Use Disorder Treatment: Is It Enough?

Author Affiliations
  • 1Program in Addiction Medicine, Department of Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
  • 2Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 3Associate Editor, JAMA
  • 4Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, and Clinical Addiction Research and Education Unit, Section of General Internal Medicine, Grayken Center for Addiction, Boston Medical Center, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA. 2021;325(12):1147-1148. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.0958

On January 14, 2021, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) submitted notice to the Federal Register that it would issue practice guidelines that exempt physicians from the requirement to apply for a waiver to prescribe buprenorphine to treat opioid use disorder (OUD) in up to 30 patients at one time.1 This exemption has been placed on hold by the Biden administration and may require legislative change to implement. An exemption to the X-waiver has the potential to help reverse the morbidity and mortality associated with the opioid overdose epidemic, although without accompanying changes and attention it will not be enough.

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