Caring for patients with substance use disorder, chronic pain, or mental Illness during COVID-19
U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) COVID-19 Resources
SAMHSA has announced that it will allow State Opioid Treatment Authorities (SOTAs) to request blanket exceptions to allow patients with substance use disorder to obtain up to 28 days of Take Home medication if they are stable, and up to 14 days for patients who are less stable but who the OTP believes can safely handle that level of Take Home medication. State affiliates are encouraged to reach out to their SOTAs to urge them to make this request.
On March 31, the DEA issued new guidance providing flexibility for physicians managing patients with opioid use disorder. Previously, physicians were required to conduct an in-person evaluation before prescribing buprenorphine to new patients for the treatment of opioid use disorder; however, in light of the current national crisis, the DEA has announced that the initial visit may be conducted via telephone (voice) calls, if the physician believes that an adequate evaluation may be accomplished via telephone. The new policy is effective from March 31 for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency.