ACMT Recommends Removing the Waiver Requirement for Prescribing Buprenorphine For Opioid Use Disorder
In July 2019, ACMT published a Position Statement which has been endorsed by the American Academy of Clinical Toxicology, the American Academy of Emergency Medicine, and the American College of Emergency Physicians.
Summary and Background:
To increase access for patients to receive treatment for opioid use disorder in the United States, we strongly recommend removing the waiver (“X-waiver”) requirement for buprenorphine prescribing.
Current US law requires prescribers to obtain a waiver (“X-waiver”) for outpatient prescription of buprenorphine. The ongoing epidemic of opioid overdose deaths in North America represents a major public health crisis, with more than 48,000 Americans estimated to have died from opioid overdose in 2017 alone. Opioid use disorder (OUD) is a chronic medical condition that can be treated with pharmacological therapies. In response to growing evidence, there is consensus within the healthcare community that Opioid Agonist Therapy (OAT) is the best practice for the management of OUD. Therapy with buprenorphine, a form of OAT, reduces the risk of death in patients with OUD, prevents complications from nonfatal opioid overdose, prevents injection-associated infections, improves overall functional status, and is cost-effective.