WASHINGTON, DC—Congressman Paul D. Tonko cheered the announcement today that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will release new guidelines allowing physicians to more easily prescribe buprenorphine—a proven effective opioid addiction treatment—to patients. Tonko has long fought to remove this outdated barrier and expand access to the life-saving medication with his bipartisan bill, H.R. 2482, the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act.
“Each year, we lose tens of thousands of friends and loved ones to the devastating disease of addiction,” Congressman Tonko said. “With the COVID-19 pandemic threatening to erase our nation’s progress in combatting the opioid crisis, taking action to expand access to these safe, proven treatments could not be more urgent. We have it in our power to make sure that every American working to overcome this disease can find or follow the path of recovery. Nullifying this waiver requirement and making it easier for physicians to prescribe buprenorphine, even to a limited number of patients, will save countless lives. We have a lot of work still to do on this issue, formally eliminating this unnecessary bureaucratic barrier, raising patient caps and numerous other steps included in my bipartisan MAT Act. Still, at a time when Congress and the American people could use some good news, I am thrilled to see this glimmer of new hope and a path forward for millions of struggling Americans.”