Dec. 17, 2021 – Members of both the House of Representatives and the Senate have introduced bipartisan versions of the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act, legislation that would immediately remove training and licensing barriers and help ensure greater access to buprenorphine treatment for people across the country. The growing support among lawmakers — evidenced by the increasing numbers of legislative co-sponsors — is welcome news, given that public health experts consider these obstacles needless requirements that limit the availability of treatment providers. And the requirements apply to no other prescription drug, including the opioid pain relievers that sparked this public health crisis.

Some lawmakers and clinicians have expressed concern that increased prescribing of buprenorphine may lead people with opioid use disorder to obtain the drug indirectly, either from an acquaintance or through illicit purchase — a practice known as diversion. But a recent study shows that buprenorphine misuse among people in treatment for opioid use disorder decreased from 2015 to 2019, despite increases in the availability of buprenorphine. In fact, evidence indicates that the primary reason for buprenorphine diversion is demand from those seeking to manage their opioid use disorder and who are unable to access treatment. And according to the DEA, increasing buprenorphine prescribing may be an effective way to prevent diversion.   


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