NPs and PAs Can Now Officially Prescribe Buprenorphine for Opiate Dependency Treatment in New York
During 2016, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) was passed by Congress in an attempt to improve addiction treatment. The law amended the Controlled Substance Act to allow Nurse Practitioners (NP) and Physician Assistants (PA) to prescribe buprenorphine (also known as Suboxone), a drug commonly used to treat opiate addiction.
Up until recently, New York regulations had not been amended to reflect this change in federal law. However, on May 3, 2017, an emergency regulation was issued by the New York Department of Health to amend the applicable regulation (10 NYCRR 80.84). This emergency regulation uses the word “practitioner” instead of “physician,” thereby permitting NPs and PAs to prescribe buprenorphine in New York, effective May 3, 2017.
In order for an NP or PA to prescribe buprenorphine, they must receive 24 hours of initial training, complete a waiver notification form, send a copy of their training certification to The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and await approval by SAMHSA. Once approved, NPs and PAs will receive an email confirming their waiver and a special Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) identification number. This special DEA number must be included on all buprenorphine prescriptions for opiate addiction treatment, in addition to the regular DEA number.Finally, with respect to buprenorphine prescribing for NPs and PAs, it is anticipated that the supervisory role of a physician and the language related to “collaborating/supervising physicians” will be addressed in the near future.
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