Paxton Urges Federal Government to Protect Access to Telehealth Option Enabling People to Obtain Treatment for Opioid Use
AUSTIN, TX -- Attorney General Paxton has joined a multistate letter urging the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to permanently extend a Covid-era rule that allows individuals seeking opioid treatment to be prescribed buprenorphine via telemedicine appointments.
To combat the spread of Covid-19 and minimize the devastating impacts of the opioid epidemic, in March 2020 the DEA began allowing buprenorphine to be prescribed via telehealth, allowing individuals battling opioid addiction greater access to the life-saving drug. The expiration of this regulatory change could potentially limit access for the estimated 2.5 million Americans who use buprenorphine to combat opioid use.
Enhanced telehealth is a critical part of fighting the opioid epidemic, and the federal government should take every step necessary to ensure that Americans can access lifesaving treatments, no matter where they live or what community they are from.
“Our nation’s overdose death rate has never been higher and the need to ensure access treatment for individuals with substance use disorders has never been greater,” the letter reads. “Enabling creative, effective strategies, such as telemedicine, is critical to reducing the number of overdose deaths in our country, particularly in underserved areas, and ending the overdose crisis.”
The letter follows a long line of actions that Attorney General Paxton has taken to fight the opioid epidemic, including holding accountable those who have violated the law and worsened this crisis. To date, Paxton has secured approximately $2.4 billion in settlements for the State of Texas from manufacturers, distributors, pharmacies, and others who have caused the opioid crisis.
To read the full letter, click here.