Feb. 13, 2024 – For patients, it means the majority will continue to suffer under the clinics’ culture of cruelty. “The decision to provide take-home doses rests with the treating practitioner and their use of clinical judgment.” Under the final rule, staff can at any time rescind take-home medication for myriad reasons, which they often do. This is devastating to patients.

In case you didn’t know, SAMHSA has always had the statutory authority to remove or amend the patient care regulations it created. But with this new update, the agency chose to amend regulations instead of eliminating them. It’s a decision that reveals SAMHSA is committed to maintaining a racist and inhumane for-profit clinic system.

The final rule is full of new language that advocates  “a patient-centered perspective,” “shared decision-making for all care plans,” and “a patient-centered approach to care.”

What empty nonsense! OTP are predicated on the idea that the medication they dispense is a privilege, not a right. Patients have to demonstrate, on an almost daily basis, that they deserve to take methadone. Under this massive power imbalance, the notion that treatment will be “patient-centered” or foster “shared decision-making” is ludicrous. Patients will continue to be policed and punished.

“It’s profit-centered and DEA decision-making, full stop,” Burkholder said. “There’s absolutely nothing patient-centered about what these clinics practice. We are treated like scum.”