Eliminate all barriers to addiction medication.
If things worsen with the coronavirus many people with opioid use disorder that need to get on buprenorphine(Suboxone/Subutex) may not be able to. We could see prescribers completely stop seeing new patients but with tele-health capabilities we could allow new patients to receive this medication. Remember that the illicit black market will never go away but this crisis will result in a shortage of drugs on the market. Considering most of our illicit fentanyl analogs come from China it’s a guarantee that shipments will not make it here and those still using will need low barrier access to medication assisted recovery. This drug can not only reduce deaths from overdoses by up to 70% but can help people find long term recovery. However, we have a problem because by federal law the first buprenorphine appointment must be in person and I hope everyone can foresee the chance that this barrier will not only hinder but in some areas put a complete stop to access(in some rural areas the closest buprenorphine presciber can be 200 miles away). Let us not forgo,t buprenorphine is a schedule 3 drug and as only a partial agonist it is medically impossible to overdose on it(combined with alcohol or benzodiazepines which also suppress breathing one could overdose) but on its own impossible. Although, you know the law, I wanted to include a short description below.
It’s against state and federal law to use telehealth (remote medical services) to obtain buprenorphine for the first time; a medication used to treat opioid use disorder – often known by its brand names, Suboxone or Subutex. This law is known as the Ryan Haight Act, which is upheld by the DEA – and also prevents any controlled substances from being prescribed or purchased through online pharmacies. We request immediate suspension of this barrier!