LIVINGSTON COUNTY — The federal government just brought in new legislation that allows practitioners to obtain a waiver to prescribe many more patients Bupenorphine (Suboxone).
According to a press release by the Council on Alcohol and Substance Abuse of Livingston County and Trinity of Chemung County (CASA-Trinity), practitioners can obtain a waiver to prescribe Suboxone to up to 275 patients, an increase from 100 patients. Buprenorphine is one of the drugs frequently used for a combination of behavioral therapy and medications known as Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) to treat substance abuse.
“MAT is valuable to provide safe alternatives for the addicted population,” said Ann Domingos, CEO of CASA-Trinity. “One size does not fit all in the treatment of addiction and the different alternatives will help with growing epidemic.”
Practitioners are eligible to obtain the waiver if they have additional credentialing in addiction medicine or addiction psychiatry from a specialty medical board and/or professional society, or practice in a qualified setting as described by HHS.
Suboxone is a controlled substance and any member of the public who possesses it must have a prescription.
CASA of Livingston County began using MAT in 2011 by providing Suboxone and Vivitrol. In response to the new rule, CASA staff are ready to serve more clients if needed. Dr. Thomas Walters, Medical Director at CASA-Trinity’s Geneseo clinic plans to apply to increase the number of patients he can prescribe Suboxone. Once these changes take place at CASA, those in need of treatment should see a shorter wait list and faster access to the drug. Currently, about 32,000 doctors are authorized by the federal government to prescribe Suboxone.
CASA of Livingston County has been serving the county since 1975 providing prevention services, treatment services and recovery support. In addition to the clinics in Geneseo and Dansville, there are clinics in Elmira as well as Sayre, PA.