Last Updated: Jan 28, 2020
Research has shown that medication-assisted treatment (MAT) – a combination of medication and psychosocial support such as counseling or evidence-based behavioral therapy – can be effective in treating opioid dependency.
The Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000 enables physicians to qualify to treat opioid dependency with buprenorphine products if they are:
- Licensed under state law
- Registered with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to dispense controlled substances
- Treating no more than 30 patients at a time within the first year
- Qualified by training and/or certification
Physicians can complete an eight-hour training to qualify for a waiver to prescribe and dispense buprenorphine. They must also be able to refer patients to counseling and other services.
Ongoing MAT Training Opportunities
The Providers Clinical Support System (PCSS) offers a free, 8-hour online course for physicians who wish to apply for a waiver to prescribe buprenorphine. Access the online MAT waiver training.
You can find additional educational opportunities for physicians supported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Training options include a course (The Providers Clinical Support System for MAT Self Study at the American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine) that blends a live 4.25 webinar session with a 3.75 hour online session.
Eligible nurses and physician assistants (PAs) must complete 24 hours of training to prescribe buprenorphine. Get details on training opportunities for nurses and PAs through PCSS here.
DEA Supports Use of MAT for Opioid Use Disorder
In a message to practitioners sent on Dec. 12, 2019, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration confirmed that it supports the use of medication assisted treatment for opioid use disorder. DEA says its goal is for more eligible practitioners to undergo waiver training.
DEA has partnered with the American Medical Association Alliance to provide two videos on becoming an MAT provider and the partnership between law enforcement and the medical community. Watch the videos here.
SAMHSA offers a variety of MAT resources, including:
For Pennsylvania Medical Society resources on the opioid abuse crisis, visit www.pamedsoc.org/OpioidResources.