KHN Morning Briefing

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Federal Limits On Anti-Addiction Medication Stymies Treatment For Hard-Hit Communities

Due to federal law, fewer than 32,000 physicians in the country are able to prescribe buprenorphine, which has been shown to offer a greater chance at recovery from opioid addiction. Meanwhile, in Ohio, thousands have been saved by the use of Naloxone in the first nine months of 2015.

Stateline: Few Doctors Are Willing, Able to Prescribe Powerful Anti-Addiction Drugs
Clinical studies show that U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved opioid addiction medicines like buprenorphine offer a far greater chance of recovery than treatments that don’t involve medication, including 12-step programs and residential stays. But as the country’s opioid epidemic kills more and more Americans, some of the hardest-hit communities across the country don’t have enough doctors who are able — or willing — to supply those medications to the growing number of addicts who need them. More than 900,000 U.S. physicians can write prescriptions for painkillers such as OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin. But because of a federal law, fewer than 32,000 doctors are authorized to prescribe buprenorphine to people who become addicted to those and other opioids. (Vestal, 1/18)

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