CEPOP 2021 Strategy Session on January 26; CARA 2.0 Presentation

To plan for the year ahead, CEPOP will host its annual Strategy Session on Tuesday, January 26th (3:30pm – 5:00pm ET). The 90-minute session will follow a similar cadence to CEPOP’s standing monthly calls beginning with a focus topic speaker presentation followed by a robust conversation around core advocacy and policy priorities that address the continued evolution of the nation’s opioid epidemic including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Given recent reports by CDC and other federal agency partners, CEPOP’s work will remain critically important throughout 2021 as rates of substance misuse/abuse and overdose continue to spike.

Please let Sanjyot Sangodkar or Marcy Harrison know of any questions regarding scheduling.

CEPOP All-Participant WebEx Information

To join via WebEx, please click here.

To join via telephone, please use:

  • Conference Line: (855) 244-8681
  • Participant Code: 299 037 708
  • Mobile Friendly: 855-244-8681,,299037708#

HHS Expands Access to Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it will publish Practice Guidelines for the Administration of Buprenorphine for Treating Opioid Use Disorder, to expand access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) by exempting physicians from certain certification requirements needed to prescribe buprenorphine for opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment. The guidelines eliminate the X-waiver requirement for physicians licensed under State law and who possess a DEA registration.

The exemption only applies to physicians who may only treat patients who are located in the states in which they are authorized to practice medicine. The exemption also only applies to the prescription of drugs or formulations covered under the X-waiver of the CSA, such as buprenorphine, and physicians utilizing this exemption will be limited to treating no more than 30 patients with buprenorphine for opioid use disorder at any one time. To monitor implementation of the guidelines, HHS has committed to establishing an interagency working group.

Articles & Resources

HHS – HHS Expands Access to Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder

HHS – Announcement of Practice Guidelines for the Administration of Buprenorphine for Treating Opioid Use Disorder


HHS Study Shows Continued Rise In Opioid Affected Births

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) led a study in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and Vanderbilt University Medical Center to examine the trends in neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) and maternal opioid diagnoses (MOD) in hospital records. The study shows that the rates of pregnant women diagnosed with opioid use disorder and of babies born with withdrawal symptoms increased from 2010-2017 in nearly all study states and demographic groups.

Researchers analyzed 11.8 million records from community, non-rehabilitation hospitals in 47 states and the District of Columbia from 2010 through 2017 that were part of AHRQ’s Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP). The study found that mothers with opioid-related diagnoses increased by 131% and the incidence of babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) increased by 82% nationally. The data indicates that rural, white, and Medicaid populations continue to have the highest rates of maternal opioid-related diagnoses and NAS. Additionally, plateaus in opioid diagnoses in heavily affected New England states suggest some state-level progress has occurred in addressing MOD and NAS.

The authors suggest that the large variation by state highlights the importance of state-level strategies and initiatives to address the opioid crisis for pregnant and postpartum women and their infants, and that continued monitoring is essential to help inform and evaluate national and state-based efforts.

Articles & Resources

HHS – Nationwide Study Shows Continued Rise in Opioid Affected Births

JAMA – Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome and Maternal Opioid-Related Diagnoses in the US, 2010-2017


NIH-supported Pilot Study Found Team-based Approach May Improve Buprenorphine Care

In a pilot study supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), researchers from Duke University found that a collaborative approach to treating opioid use disorder that relies heavily on community pharmacists may increase adherence and participant satisfaction.

The investigators studied the transfer of care of 71 participants using buprenorphine maintenance therapy for opioid use disorder from waivered physicians to trained community pharmacists and found that nearly 89% of participants remained in the study and 95.3% adhered to the daily medication regimen. During the 6-month trial, no opioid-related emergencies or hospitalizations were reported. The researchers concluded that the pilot study offers strong support for advancing physician-pharmacist team-based approaches to leverage community pharmacies in expanding access to opioid use disorder treatment with buprenorphine.

The researchers suggested that larger clinical trials are needed to establish strategies and approaches to most effectively implement team-based buprenorphine care and respond to the needs of diverse clinical settings and populations.

Articles & Resources

NIH – Physician-pharmacist collaboration may increase adherence to opioid addiction treatment

Addiction – Buprenorphine physician–pharmacist collaboration in the management of patients with opioid use disorder: results from a multisite study of the National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network


What We Read Last Week

Several articles were published last week pertaining to the opioid epidemic, covering a variety of different components of the issue. Links to relevant articles are provided below.

Articles & Resources

Bloomberg – Philadelphia ‘Safe Injection’ Site Barred by Federal Drug Law

Department of Justice – Appellate Court Agrees with Government that Supervised Injection Sites are Illegal under Federal Law; Reverses District Court Ruling

Department of Justice – Former Federal Agent and Others Indicted in South Florida for Oxycodone Trafficking

Drug Enforcement Administration – DEA 2020 Year in Review: Combatting Serious Drug-Related Threats During the Pandemic

KNEE – Machine-learning Model Successfully Predicts Patients at Risk for Prolonged Postoperative Opioid Use Following Elective Knee Arthroscopy

Law360 – NY To Push Back On Efforts To Split Landmark Opioid Trial

Law360 – Ex-FDA Chief Getting Biden Admin. Post, Opioid Atty Says

Pear Therapeutics – Groups Recover Together Teams with Pear Therapeutics to Provide People in Recovery Access to Innovative Treatment

STAT – Combination of Two Drugs Can Help Treat Methamphetamine Addiction for Some, New Clinical Trial Data Shows

U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts – Career Criminal Indicted on Fentanyl Possession

U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Kentucky – U.S. Attorney Robert M. Duncan, Jr. Announces Resignation

U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin – Fentanyl Distribution Leads to Prison Sentences for Two Menominee Women

U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of New York – Buffalo Man Who Sold Heroin And Fentanyl To An Undercover Officer Pleads Guilty

U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington – Mount Vernon, Washington, Woman Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Distribute Fentanyl-tainted Pills


This Week’s Calendar

In the week ahead, there are no relevant events or hearings noticed at this time. In the event that there are any changes to the schedule for this week, we will make additional information available.


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