Federal Rule Provides Flexibility in Dispensing Buprenorphine for Opioid Addiction Treatment in OTPs

The Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) issued a Federal rule to allow patients being treated through an opioid treatment program (OTP) to receive take-home supplies of buprenorphine from an OTP in a more flexible manner. Buprenorphine is a medication used in opioid addiction treatment. The regulation takes effect on January 7, 2013.

Under the rule change, OTPs will be permitted to dispense buprenorphine to eligible patients without having to adhere to previous length of time in treatment requirements. Currently, OTPs require a person to be in treatment a certain amount of time before being given a multiple days’ supply of medicine to take home.

The change in the rule will not affect requirements for dispensing methadone. SAMHSA based the change in the restrictions for dispensing buprenorphine on several factors. These include differences in the abuse potential between methadone and buprenorphine, as well as the actual abuse and mortality rates (buprenorphine is lower in each instance).

For more information on the rule, go to: http://www.ofr.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2012-29417_PI.pdf

The Federal Register notice can be accessed at: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2012/12/06/2012-29417/opioid-drugs-in-maintenance-and-detoxification-treatment-of-opiate-addiction-proposed-modification

Source: The Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration – December 6, 2012