Safer at Home –
May 12, 2020 – …rendering the in-person visit and potential coronavirus exposure unnecessary. In New York City, some clinics have even delivered methadone supplies by courier — a 180-degree shift away from the federal government’s longstanding and heavy-handed regulation of methadone, an opioid that’s used to treat both addiction and pain.
“We’re seeing changes in the last six weeks that, in some cases, we’ve been advocating for a really long time, and in others, that we didn’t even really think were possible,” said Samantha Arsenault, the vice president of national treatment quality initiatives for Shatterproof, an addiction advocacy group. Now, as they wield unprecedented freedom to prescribe addiction drugs by telemedicine and evaluate patients by phone, many doctors and advocates say they’re unwilling to relinquish that flexibility without a fight. Already, there is a burgeoning movement to keep many of the new policies in place permanently. Many treatment providers across the U.S. have said publicly that the new status quo represents long-sought change that could positively transform patient care for decades to come. “You can’t put the genie back in the bottle,” said Stephen Loyd, a Tennessee addiction doctor.