SAMHSA Proposes Updates to Expand Access to OUD Treatment

On Friday, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to update 42 CFR Part 8 to expand access to opioid use disorder treatment by making medication flexibilities enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic permanent and updating definitions and standards for opioid treatment programs. The proposed rule would allow take home doses of methadone and the use of telehealth in initiating buprenorphine at opioid treatment programs, expand the definition of a treatment practitioner to include any provider who is appropriately licensed to dispense and/or prescribe approved medications, remove stigmatizing or outdated language, allow for early access to take-home doses of methadone for all patients, update the criteria for provision of take-home doses of methadone, add evidence-based delivery models of care, remove the one-year requirement for opioid addiction before admission to an OTP, and promote the chronic disease model of management. Comments to the rule are due February 14, 2023.

Articles & Resources

Federal Register – Medications for the Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder

SAMHSA – SAMHSA Proposes Update to Federal Rules to Expand Access to Opioid Use Disorder Treatment and Help Close Gap in Care

CDC Data Detail Increase in Adolescent Overdose Deaths

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued another Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on Friday, this time providing details on the increase in overdose death rates among adolescents aged 10-19. CDC analyzed data on adolescents from the State Unintentional Drug Overdose Reporting System during July 2019–December 2021 and found that median monthly overdose deaths increased 109% from July–December 2019 to July–December 2021. Researchers highlighted several other key findings, including that the majority of deaths involved illicitly manufactured fentanyls, nearly one quarter of deaths included evidence of counterfeit pills, and approximately 41% of decedents had a history of mental health conditions or treatment. In their report, CDC encouraged collaborative efforts to prevent overdose deaths among adolescents, including preventing substance use initiation, strengthening partnerships to reduce availability of illicit drugs, educating about the dangers of illicitly manufactured fentanyls, expanding naloxone access, and ensuring access to evidence-based substance use disorder and mental health treatment.

Articles & Resources

CDC – Drug Overdose Deaths Among Persons Aged 10–19 Years — United States, July 2019–December 2021

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.

Bloomberg Government – CVS & Walgreens in $10.7B Multistate Settlements Over Opioids

CNN – Drug overdose deaths slowing in the US after reaching record levels during the Covid-19 pandemic

Kaiser Health News – In Rural America, Deadly Costs of Opioids Outweigh the Dollars Tagged to Address Them

LexBlog – American Hospital Association Urges DEA to Issue Special Registration for Telemedicine Controlled Substances

Psychology Today – How Fentanyl Is Forcing Providers to Go Rogue

SAMHSA – HHS Awards More Than $130 Million in 988 Lifeline Grants From the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to Address Nation’s Ongoing Mental Health and Substance Use Crises

Senator Amy Klobuchar – Klobuchar, Capito Urge Administration to Increase Cyber Investigations of Fentanyl Trafficking

Senator John Kennedy – Kennedy, Durbin urge DEA to continue reigning in excessive opioid production

STAT – Responsibly expanding access to methadone for people with opioid use disorder will save lives

The Hill – How Congress can prevent opioid addiction before it starts

The Wall Street Journal – Fentanyl Awareness Campaign Urges Parents to ‘Drop the F-Bomb’ With Their Kids

The Washington Post – Washington faltered as fentanyl gripped America

The White House – Notice on the Continuation of the National Emergency With Respect to the Global Illicit Drug Trade

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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