Senate Bill Calls for Increase on Patient Cap for Doctors Prescribing Suboxone
| The new bill is called the Recovery Enhancement for Addiction Treatment Act, and it would increase the number of patients a doctor could treat with Suboxone (buprenorphine) for opioid withdrawal.
In a large number of cases addicts will relapse during the withdrawal period, and even if not their ability to take part in a recovery program will be compromised. The majority of the professionals in the medical community believes that replacement therapy during the acute withdrawal phase paired with counseling and 12 step meetings gives an individual the best possible chance for a substantial recovery.
Suboxone curbs the otherwise agonizing withdrawal symptoms and enables the recovering addict to feel almost normal and free of cravings. With many obstacles both mental and physical now cleared the patient is able to begin in a program of recovery with their new found clarity.
Federal Regulations Currently Limit the Prescription and Management of Opioid Dependence Therapy
Medication-assisted treatment using Suboxone has demonstrated promising treatment outcomes for opioid users. Federal regulations however, limit the prescription and management of opioid dependence therapy to “qualifying physicians” who apply for a waiver from the requirements of the Controlled Substances Act. The waiver allows qualifying physicians who work in settings that are not methadone maintenance treatment settings, to prescribe Suboxone.
These regulations also limit the numbers of persons that qualifying physicians can treat in their practices. So the need for medication-assisted treatment is greater than the number that can be treated by certified physician providers. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
An article on Huffington Post lays out the provisions of the new bill.
Senate Bill Would Dramatically Alter Treatment For Heroin Addiction
By Jason Cherkis http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/27/heroin-addiction-senate_n_7456492.html
“In areas hit hardest by the opioid epidemic, those limits have maxed out doctors and created lengthy waiting lists for prescriptions. The legislation would raise the first-year cap from 30 patients to 100 and allow qualified nurse practitioners and physician assistants to prescribe the medication. It also would give doctors the chance to remove the patient cap after one year. “
The bill may help spur more primary care doctors – and other medical professionals – to start treating opioid addicts with buprenorphine. A recent University of Washington study found that 30 million Americans lived in counties without a single doctor certified to prescribe Suboxone. The majority of these counties were in rural areas.
Last fall, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that in 28 states, heroin deaths doubled from 2010 to 2012. Heroin-related overdose deaths jumped 39 percent nationwide from 2012 to 2013, surging to 8,257.
Merrick said he isn’t sure the bill goes far enough. “We’re in a crisis here,“ he said.
According to a press release, the legislation is being co-sponsored by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.).
A companion bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.), Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.), Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), John Katko (R-N.Y.).
Arrowhead Lodge Recovery Suboxone Program
At Arrowhead Lodge Recovery, Prescott, AZ, we provide suboxone treatment as a medically supervised and assisted inpatient treatment program for heroin or opiate detox. Suboxone treatment usually lasts 30 days or less.
Our Prescription Opioid Painkillers Addiction Program gradually reduces and removes opioid painkiller dependency; and provides physical assessment, therapy and the exercise needed to rebuild a healthier body.
The Arrowhead Lodge Recovery Opioid Addiction Program reduces pain, and provides the counseling and assistance to rekindle and regain personal power and purpose. Arrowhead Lodge Recovery incorporates psychosocial elements in our recovery program; as well as assisting men in finding their spiritual core. At our mountain retreat facility, men can begin to find inner peace, tranquility – and strengthen their unique and authentic personal spiritual connection.
We Help Men to Survive and Thrive in Daily Life, Once They Leave Our Facility
We are not just training our clients how to be sober in a rehab environment. We give men the tools to survive and thrive in daily life once they leave Arrowhead Lodge Recovery. As a result, our clients report happier and healthier lives after they leave our facility; with fewer relapses.
Questions? Having Difficulty Quitting Prescription Painkillers or with Substance?
For a confidential conversation to discuss your situation, please call 888-654-3500.