Diversion Control Division, US Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration

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Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) for Opioid Use Disorder

DEA Supports the Use of Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder: Message for DATA Waived Practitioners And Those Eligible To Become DATA Waived

Opioid use disorder cannot be effectively combatted without the concerted collaboration between the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the addiction treatment community. DEA has been working to expand access to medication assisted treatment (MAT) for individuals with opioid use disorder. We have partnered with the American Medical Association (AMA) Alliance to produce two informative videos on the advantages of being a DATA-waived practitioner, titled, "The Partnership: Law Enforcement and the Medical Community" and "The Advantages of Becoming a DATA-Waived Physician." DEA hopes that these videos help dispel the notion that DEA does not support MAT for opioid use disorder, so that together, we can prevent deaths due to opioids.

The videos can be accessed at https://amaalliance.org/the-opioid-epidemic/. DEA encourages you to share this link across your networks to spread the very important message among the practitioner community that DEA supports the use of MAT for opioid use disorder.

The stigma that DEA does not support MAT is predicated on the belief by some that DEA unfairly targets DATA-waived practitioners. This is not the case. In fact, the overwhelming majority of practitioners act within the law and provide MAT as it is intended. Regrettably, DEA has needed to take action against a very small number of DATA-waived practitioners because they were acting outside of the law. It is an unfortunate reality that this very small number of bad actors has had a disproportionate effect on the diversion and misuse of controlled prescription drugs in the United States.

As of September 2020, there are over 85,000 qualifying practitioners in the DEA registration system who may prescribe, dispense, or administer controlled substances (e.g., buprenorphine) for maintenance or detoxification treatment in an office-based setting, representing a 33 percent increase from just one year ago. These individuals, called "DATA-waived practitioners," are physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and all other categories of qualified mid-level practitioners that may treat up to 30, 100, or 275 patients depending on the individual authorization they have received from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

It is DEA's goal that more eligible practitioners will undergo DATA-waiver training to become authorized to provide MAT. This will expand access for individuals who are seeking treatment for their opioid use disorder and is one of the ways that practitioners can assist in combating the opioid epidemic. Your continued partnership is appreciated. Please contact the Diversion Control Division Liaison Section at (571) 362-3260 with any questions.

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