Feb. 2, 2024 – Now for the first time in more than 20 years, the Biden administration is publishing new federal rules for methadone treatment aimed at widening access for more patients. But patients accessing those clinics will now be able to receive more take-home doses of the medication; they’ll be able to receive care more frequently after a telehealth consultation; and nurse practitioners and physicians assistants working at OTPs will be able to order the medication. 

The new rule also eliminates a long-standing restriction that required patients to experience opioid addiction for at least a year before receiving methadone. The new actions will take affect within six months, the government says. 

In a statement, White House drug czar Dr. Rahul Gupta said the new rules “can mean the difference between life or death” for people addicted to fentanyl and other opioids. 

The changes, which take effect this summer, drew praise from addiction policy experts, but some critics said they don’t go far enough.