Performance Improvement 2008. What Impact Has the Buprenorphine Waiver Had?


This three-year study gathered information to assess alternative service effectiveness; researchers analyzed the treatment provided through the 'buprenorphine waiver,' its impact on access to treatment, and potential adverse public health consequences. The evaluation gathered information needed to determine whether to continue waivers. The Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000 (DATA) enabled office-based administration of certain medications for opiate addiction such as buprenorphine, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in October, 2002. DATA allows physicians with certain qualifications to obtain waivers from special registration requirements usually associated with prescribing or dispensing such drugs. DATA also states that at some point HHS and the Attorney General may discontinue the waiver program. This effort was developed in coordination with the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Food and Drug Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and others.

Buprenorphine treatment provided under the waiver program demonstrated its effectiveness in clinical practice settings. Little evidence has emerged of negative public health consequences attributable to the waiver program. Serious adverse reactions and diversion were rarely reported by patients or by treating physicians. The number of geographic areas where medication-assisted treatment is available increased. The demonstration has shown the potential to increase significantly the availability of effective treatment for opioid-dependent persons. The evaluation indicated that continued dissemination of buprenorphine and efforts to increase access to this treatment option appear desirable.

Report Title: The SAMHSA Evaluation of the Impact of the DATA Waiver Program: Summary Report. Agency Sponsor: SAMHSA, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Federal Contact: Arlene Stanton, 240-276-2718
Performer: Westat, Inc.

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"PerformanceImprovement2008.pdf" (pdf, 1.29Mb)

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