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ASAM, AAPA, AANP, and AOAAM Request Meeting with DOJ Regarding Recent Enforcement Actions

July 5, 2018

On July 3, the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), American Academy of PAs (AAPA), American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), and American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine (AOAAM), approved providers of DATA 2000 training, issued a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions thanking the Department of Justice (DOJ) for identifying individuals who may be committing opioid-related criminal activity and health care fraud involving patients with addiction and expressing the need to work together so such actions do not have unintended consequences that dissuade clinicians from prescribing buprenorphine and leave patients without treatment should their practitioners’ offices be closed.


The use of FDA-approved medications combined with psychosocial support is considered the gold standard for the treatment of opioid use disorder. Unfortunately, there is a considerable lack of access to evidence-based treatment, with only 41 percent of addiction treatment facilities in the US offering at least one FDA-approved medication for the treatment of addiction involving opioid use, and only 2.7 percent offering all three medications for addiction involving opioid use (i.e., methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone).


The appropriate prescribing of partial agonists such as buprenorphine and dispensing of agonists such as methadone for the treatment of addiction involving opioid use is sometimes conflated with the inappropriate prescribing of opioids for the treatment of pain, and consequently subject to restrictions and regulations intended solely for opioids analgesics. The letter further elaborates that dispelling any confusion between the appropriate prescribing of medications used to treat addiction involving opioid use and the inappropriate prescribing of opioid analgesics to treat pain is critical to increasing access to quality, evidence-based addiction care.


The letter concludes stating that both methadone and buprenorphine have been demonstrated to decrease overdose risk when used to treat addiction involving opioids and that educating the medical and law enforcement communities and the general public is critical to increasing patient access to these lifesaving medications and reducing overdose deaths.