Nov. 18, 2021 – Methadone is a tightly controlled treatment for drug addiction, and patients must go to a clinic to receive the medication. That decades-old requirement was lifted during the coronavirus pandemic when the federal government let patients take home up to a 28-day supply of methadone.

The original policy was meant to ward off diversion of the treatment, which is itself a synthetic opioid. But public health experts — and even former ONDCP officials — worry it prevents some people from seeking treatment.

President Biden may keep a version of the pandemic-related change, where people can have some supply of methadone at home. The administration is also weighing whether to maintain coronavirus policies allowing more addiction treatment to be done through telehealth. There are three main policies here. One is to increase distribution of naloxone, an opioid overdose antidote. 

Another is a new policy allowing federal funds to pay for strips to test whether drugs are laced with fentanyl — a powerful synthetic driving up overdose death rates. That’s a contrast from the previous administration. 

Elinore McCance-Katz, Trump’s assistant secretary for mental health and substance abuse, wrote a 2018 blog post criticizing the use of fentanyl strips. That post has since been taken down from government websites, according to Regina LaBelle,who served as Biden’s acting ONDCP director.

The third focuses on harm reduction programs, like bolstering access to syringe exchange programs. 


[ninja-popup ID=12216]