HHS Releases New Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Guidelines

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released new buprenorphine practice guidelines that, among other actions, remove a long-established requirement tied to health care provider training. According to HHS, many providers have cited the training requirements associated with the prescribing and use of buprenorphine as a significant barrier to treating more individuals with opioid use disorder.

The Practice Guidelines for the Administration of Buprenorphine for Treating Opioid Use Disorder, signed by HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, exempt specified health care providers from federal certification requirements related to training, counseling, and other ancillary services that are part of the process of obtaining a waiver to treat up to 30 patients with buprenorphine.

The HHS points to the significant numbers of opioid-related conditions and deaths that have occurred nationwide over the past several years. More than 90,000 drug overdose deaths are predicted to have occurred in the U.S. in the 12 months ending in September 2020, representing the highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in a 12-month period, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Additional information is available here.