The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) applauds provisions included in the 2023 Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L. 117-328) that will significantly expand access to medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD). The act, signed into law by President Biden on Dec. 29, 2022, amended the Controlled Substances Act to eliminate the requirement for qualified practitioners to first obtain a special waiver to prescribe medications such as buprenorphine for the treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD). This ends a decades-long requirement, originally put in place through the Drug Abuse Treatment Act (DATA) of 2000. With the new law, the patient limits associated with this special waiver also no longer apply.
The removal of the federal requirement for practitioners to obtain a waiver will make it easier for qualified practitioners to prescribe buprenorphine, builds on the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Overdose Prevention Strategy, and delivers on the call to action in President Biden’s Unity Agenda to address the overdose and addiction crisis.