GIVE PILLS A CHANCE – 

April 27, 2020 – Because of how opioids act on the brain, people dependent on them get sick if they stop using. Withdrawal can feel like a bad flu with cramping, sweating, anxiety and sleeplessness. Cravings for the drug can be so intense that relapse is common. Buprenorphine helps by moving a patient from powerful painkillers or an illicit opioid like heroin to a regular dose of a legal opioid-based medication.

Besides doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, certified nurse midwives and some other types of nurses will be able to prescribe buprenorphine without first getting special training.

The Trump administration tried to make a similar change in its final days but it would have applied only to doctors.

The Biden administration put the matter on hold for a legal and policy review, ultimately deciding to expand the easier guidelines to more prescribers. The prescribing requirements date back to legislation in 2000 meant to prevent too-easy access to a medicine with its own potential for misuse. But only a small number of doctors went through the steps and, in many parts of the country, patients couldn’t find a prescriber. Ironically, doctors could prescribe buprenorphine for pain without the extra training.

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