Stakeholder Groups Request DEA Continue Telehealth Prescribing of Controlled Substances

On November 11th, a group of over 100 stakeholders sent a letter to Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Administrator Anne Milgram and Attorney General Merrick Garland urging DEA to continue allowing the prescribing of controlled substances via Telehealth beyond the COVID-19 public health emergency, which is set to expire in Spring 2023. Currently, DEA has waived the requirement that patients have prior in-person visits before prescribing medications via Telehealth, increasing patient access to medically necessary controlled substances. The letter notes that “the COVID-19 pandemic has made clear the importance of increased access to Telehealth services” and encourages DEA to finalize a proposed rule to create a Special Registration for Telemedicine and continue allowing physicians to prescribe controlled substance medications until the rule is finalized. The letter also requests that DEA provide a timetable for when the Special Registration for Telemedicine proposed and final rules will be published and a timeframe for public comments.

Articles & Resources

Bloomberg Government – Groups To DEA: Extend Controlled Substance Rx Telehealth Waiver


Study Highlight Disparities in OUD Treatment

Findings from a new study published in JAMA Psychiatry suggest that racial and ethnic minority patients with opioid use disorder (OUD) complete shorter buprenorphine treatment durations compared to White patients. Researchers from Harvard Medical School and McGill University analyzed 11 million prescriptions filled between 2006 and 2020 for 240,923 patients and found that the median treatment length for Black and Hispanic patients was shorter than White patients. The study also found that treatment length consistently decreased since 2014 for Black patients and since 2009 for Hispanic patients, but increased beginning in 2017 for White patients. The researchers note that longer treatment duration is often associated with improved clinical outcomes, but inequities faced by racial and ethnic minorities could affect OUD treatment and that these inequities must be understood to address gaps in treatment, improve treatment initiation, retention, and outcomes, and reduce opioid overdoses.

Articles & Resources

JAMA Psychiatry – Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Buprenorphine Treatment Duration in the US

What We Read Last Week

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

Healthcare IT News – University of Maryland consortium launches Institute for Health Computing

KTOO – Alaska Native nonprofit puts culture at the forefront of addiction prevention

Pharmacy Times – Nonpharmacologic Treatments Surpass Opioid Treatment for Patients with Chronic, Nonsurgical Pain

Politico – What the elections mean for health care

The National Law Review – California Legislative Update Part I: New Requirements for Licensed Health Care Professionals

The Trumpet – The Economic Cost of the Opioid Epidemic

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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