DEA Listening Session on Remote Prescribing of Controlled Substances

Last week, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) held listening sessions to review new rules for virtual prescribing of controlled medications. This follows the proposed rule released last spring which required an in-person visit for prescribing of controlled medications, including buprenorphine. DEA received 38,000 comments in response to their proposed rule and has been reevaluating their telehealth policy. Given the limited number of providers prescribing medication-assisted treatment with buprenorphine, opponents of the new rule have noted that requiring an in-person visit may be a barrier to receiving treatment. The listening session included providers, patients, and representatives from telehealth and prescriber organizations. DEA Administrator Ann Milgram and Deputy Administrator Tom Prevoznik were present and engaged throughout the two days.

Articles & Resources

DEA—Telemedicine Listening Sessions

Summary of DEA Sessions

NIH-Funded Research Suggests Four Waves of the Overdose Crisis

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine recently published data highlighting the rise in overdose deaths from fentanyl-laced stimulants. These findings note that, in 2010, only 0.6% (235) of overdose deaths involved stimulants and fentanyl but, by 2021, that percentage increased to 32.3% (34,429) deaths involving stimulants and fentanyl. Researchers attribute this rise to a new fourth wave of the opioid overdose crisis, and suggest that the opioid crisis has occurred in four waves: 1) the rise in prescription opioids; 2) the rise of heroin without stimulants; 3) the rise in fentanyl without stimulants; and 4) the use of fentanyl with stimulants. Researchers also found that Black, Indigenous, People of Color communities are disproportionally affected. Further, due to polysubstance use, many combinations have made naloxone ineffective, leading to the increase in overdose deaths. Researchers used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Wide-Ranging Online Database for Epidemiologic Research and examined causes by using the International Classification of Diseases codes. This research was funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institutes of Drug Abuse.

Articles & Resources

Addiction—Charting the fourth wave: Geographic, temporal, race/ethnicity and demographic trends in polysubstance fentanyl overdose in the United States, 2010-2021

UCLA Health—Overdose deaths from fentanyl laced stimulants have risen 50-fold since 2010

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.

Associated Press—Afghanistan is the fastest-growing maker of methamphetamine, UN drug agency says

Axios—The politicization of the fentanyl crisis

Axios—Philly City Council gets moving on ban of overdose prevention sites

Axios—The stark U.S. divide in xylazine use

BBC—Painkillers, addiction and me: One mother’s story

KFF—Despite Successes, Addiction Treatment Programs for Families Struggle to Stay Open

Rite Aid—Rite Aid Announces Availability of OTC Narcan Nasal Spray at All Locations

Scientific American—Vivitrol, Used to Fight Opioid Misuse, Has a Major Overdose Problem

Washington Post—Overdoses soared even as prescription pain pills plunged

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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