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Federal legislation increases rural access to the opioid treatment drug, study finds 

Following the passage of federal legislation in 2016, Rural regions of the U.S. are obtaining increased access to opioid-withdrawal drug Buprenorphine, a new national study found (Source: “Study: Rural areas access to opioid treatment drug expanded under 2016 law Sen. Rob Portman backed,” The Columbus Dispatch, Dec. 5, 2019). 

study published in the journal Health Affairs, found that between 2016 and 2019, the number of doctors practicing in rural areas with waivers to prescribe Buprenorphine increased by 111 percent.

The increase follows the 2016 passage of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), which was co-sponsored by Ohio Sen. Rob Portman. The law authorizes nurse practitioners and physician assistants to obtain the waivers needed to prescribe the medication. More than half of the federal waiver increases for nurse practitioners and physician assistants were due to the CARA law change in 2016, the study determined. 

“In order to address the drug addiction epidemic gripping our country, we need as many qualified providers as possible to treat patients who are struggling with addiction,” Portman said in a statement.