The Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act of 2021 (H.R. 1384, S. 445) improves access to Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) treatment by removing the requirement that a healthcare practitioner apply for a waiver through the Drug Enforcement Administration to dispense buprenorphine for maintenance or detoxification treatment OUD.
Buprenorphine is a life-saving drug prescribed to individuals diagnosed with Opioid Use Disorder. It has demonstrated effectiveness in increasing treatment retention and reducing opioid use and mortality.1
Currently, doctors must complete an 8-hour course to receive a license, called an “X-waiver,” to be able to prescribe the drug. As such, the X waiver is one of the primary barriers that reduces access to Buprenorphine.2 Removing the X waiver will lead to significant increases in access to OUD treatment. After removing buprenorphine prescribing regulations, France saw significant increases in Buprenorphine use by individuals with OUD.2 Additionally, as access to Buprenorphine in France increased, overdose deaths rapidly declined (79% over the subsequent 3 years).2 Researchers anticipate that the removal of the X waiver will result in the prevention of 30,000 overdose deaths annually in the U.S.2