45 states sign letter urging DEA to extend telehealth flexibility to fight opioid crisis

Attorneys general in 45 states signed a letter urging the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to permanently extend COVID-19 pandemic-era telehealth flexibilities that allowed clinicians to prescribe buprenorphine to patients over the phone, without an in-person or video evaluation. 

Buprenorphine is one of three FDA-approved medications to treat opioid use disorder. According to the Nov. 16 letter, 2.5 million Americans use buprenorphine.

"The allowance of telehealth for treating opioid use disorder is a low-barrier treatment option that presents an opportunity to expand buprenorphine access to populations who may have previously struggled to receive treatment," the letter said. "Prior to these telehealth flexibilities, many Americans struggled to access buprenorphine treatment initiation due to geographic barriers."

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