CHICAGO — The American Medical Association is urging governors to immediately adopt a new U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) guidance providing flexibility for physicians managing patients with opioid use disorder.  

The guidance, issued Monday for physicians and other health professionals with a waiver to prescribe buprenorphine for the treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD), permits these prescriptions to new and existing patients based on an evaluation via telephone. 

According to the DEA, “DATA-waived practitioners should feel free to prescribe buprenorphine to new patients with OUD for maintenance treatment or detoxification treatment following an evaluation via telephone voice calls, without first performing an in-person or telemedicine evaluation.”

“This guidance removes a considerable barrier for many patients during this national emergency and, importantly, allows them to stay at home,” said AMA President Patrice A. Harris, M.D., M.A. “The AMA commends the DEA for its new policy and urges all states to take this action to support greater access to treatment for patients with opioid use disorder.”

The new policy is effective from March 31 for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency. The full guidance is available at:

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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.