American Society of Addiction Medicine urges DEA to finalize opioid rule

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The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) recently sent a letter to Scott Brinks, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) section chief, urging the agency to finalize a proposed rule regarding Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs).

The proposed rule would revise the existing narcotic treatment programs (NTP) regulations to allow programs to operate mobile units for the purpose of dispensing narcotic drugs at a remote location for maintenance or detoxification treatment. The programs would not be required to obtain a separate registration for the mobile units.

Mobile units “may be particularly valuable to those who cannot travel to an NTP due to incarceration; rather than arranging to transport patients from a correctional facility to the NTP, which can be logistically difficult, corrections officials may be able to work with a local NTP to bring a mobile component to the correctional facility for patients’ daily medication administration,” the letter, signed by ASAM President Paul Earley, said. “Bringing medication treatment to jails or prisons through a mobile NTP component could help close a critical treatment gap among a highly vulnerable population.”

An estimated 2 million people in the United States suffered from opioid-use disorder in 2018, but less than 20 percent received treatment, Earley said.

The DEA is seeking comments through April 27.

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