Advocating for Medication for Opioid Use Disorder

Strategic Alliance Partnership | <b>NCCHC</b>

The NCCHC and 166 national organizations recently signed a letter to Senate leadership advocating for increased access to buprenorphine.

The National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC) and 166 national organizations recently signed a letter to Senate leadership advocating for increased access to buprenorphine, an FDA-approved medication for opioid use disorder (OUD). They urged US Senate to pass the bipartisan Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act.

“In the midst of a deadly and accelerating overdose crisis, the MAT Act is a common-sense solution that will prevent overdoses, increase access to treatment, and reduce stigma,” the letter reads.

Buprenorphine, along with methadone and extended-release naltrexone, is 1 of 3 medications currently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat OUD and is considered the “gold standard” treatment. It also keeps individuals with OUD from returning to illicit drug use—and to jail.1

However, the X-waiver severely hinders access to buprenorphine by preventing health care providers from prescribing it. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), only about 1 in 10 people with OUD receive medications for the condition because of the X-waiver. Furthermore, the Department of Health and Human Services claims that fully 40% of US counties do not have any health care providers who can prescribe buprenorphine.

If passed, the MAT Act will eliminate the X-waiver and make buprenorphine more available and accessible for Americans with OUD.

The letter was sent to Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Chair Patty Murray, and Ranking Member Richard Burr on August 31, Overdose Awareness Day. The letter can be found here.2

References

1. NCCHC Supports Access to MOUD. National Commission on Correctional Health Care. September 9, 2022. Accessed September 21, 2022. https://www.ncchc.org/ncchc-supports-access-to-moud/

2. The Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act (“MAT Act”, S. 445 / H.R. 1384). August 31, 2022. Accessed September 21, 2022. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5eb15fa07d53aa0e85b448d7/t/6317704dfeb1183bfc5ada54/1662480461791/MAT+Act+(S+445)+-+167+Organizations+Submit+Letter+to+Senate+Leadership+Urging+Passage+with+Sept.+CR+(Aug22).pdf