CHICAGO — The American Medical Association (AMA) and American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) are recommending that states with declared states of emergency request blanket exceptions from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration that will help patients in an opioid treatment program during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The blanket exception will allow patients to obtain up to 28 days of take-home medication if they are stable, and up to 14 days for patients who are less stable but whom the treatment program believes can safely handle that level of take-home medication. More information is here (PDF).
The AMA and ASAM recommend that state medical societies urge their State Opioid Treatment Authority to make this request. This is an important step to help patients with opioid use disorder during this time of national emergency, and the AMA and ASAM will continue to communicate further steps.
“During this pandemic, it is critical for patients to be able to access medication without delay. With public transportation limited and social distancing being recommended, physicians know that their patients might not be able to come to the opioid treatment program on a daily basis. Physicians need this flexibility so their patients can keep up with life-saving prescription regimens,” said AMA President Patrice A. Harris, M.D, who also is chair of the AMA Opioid Task Force.
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About the American Medical Association
The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care. The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.