President Biden delivered on his commitment to remove the X-waiver, which had been a barrier for health care providers prescribing medication treatment for opioid use disorder

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, Dr. Rahul Gupta, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), Anne Milgram, Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Dr. Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, joined members of Congress and leaders from across the country for an event marking the removal of the X-waiver and calling on providers to join in providing treatment for addiction. The removal of the X-waiver advances President Biden’s Unity Agenda to beat the opioid crisis by closing the addiction treatment gap, a step critically needed at a time when fewer than 1 out of 10 Americans with substance use disorder get the care they need.

“President Biden has delivered on his commitment to remove a key barrier so that more health care providers across the country can now prescribe medication treatment for opioid use disorder,” said Dr. Gupta. “This is a major step forward in the Biden-Harris Administration’s ongoing work to ensure universal access to medication for substance use disorder care by 2025. This historic action will save lives from the opioid crisis.”

“In this moment, when the United States is suffering tens of thousands of opioid-related drug poisoning deaths every year, the DEA’s top priority is doing everything in our power to save lives,” said DEA Administrator Milgram. “Medication for opioid use disorder helps those who are fighting to overcome substance use disorder by sustaining recovery and preventing overdoses. At DEA, our goal is simple: we want medication for opioid use disorder to be readily and safely available to anyone in the country who needs it. DEA applauds the repeal of the DATA Waiver and all it will do to expand access to buprenorphine for those who need it.”

“Given the urgency of the nation’s addiction and overdose crises, we cannot overstate the need to increase the number of health care providers who can treat individuals with addiction,” said Dr. Delphin-Rittmon. “The removal of the waiver requirement to prescribe buprenorphine and lifting of the limits of people prescribers can work with are significant steps toward expanding access to medication for treating opioid use disorder and saving lives.” 

“Our bipartisan efforts to expand access to lifesaving buprenorphine will help ensure that more patients can access this critical treatment to enter recovery and rebuild their lives,” said Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH). “I am glad that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle could come together, listen to the voices of our constituents, and get this important law over the finish line.”

“Over the last decade, I’ve focused my advocacy in Congress on knocking out every single barrier to addiction treatment, so that when an individual struggling with the disease of addiction reaches out for help, we have a medical system ready to welcome them with open arms,” said Representative Paul Tonko (D-NY). “With that in mind, I authored the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act to remove the X-waiver and open the doors of treatment to millions of Americans. Today’s celebration is both the culmination of a long journey and the beginning of a new one. The battle to save lives is far from over, but this is a pivotal step forward. I am forever grateful for everyone who helped get this lifesaving bill signed into law.”

The following quotes were provided from Members of Congress who were unable to attend the event.

“The MAT Act is all about increasing access and saving lives. Enacting this legislation, which eliminates the X-waiver, is a positive step forward in supporting the many Americans struggling with opioid addiction and substance abuse,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). “Alaskan communities are disproportionately impacted by substance-use disorders and addiction — too many barriers exist for people needing to access behavioral health treatment. I’m proud to have led this legislation with Senator Hassan which will increase access to care, save lives, and help address this epidemic impacting far too many individuals, families, and entire communities.”

“Eliminating the X-waiver streamlines the quality and timeliness of care for those suffering from opioid addiction by making buprenorphine, a critical treatment, more available to those who need it,” said Representative Mike Turner (R-OH). “I have long advocated for increased access to buprenorphine and am immensely proud to see it become law through my bill, the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act. Additional common sense actions are needed to truly stem the tide of opioid addiction ravaging our communities.”

Last month, President Biden signed into law the bipartisan omnibus appropriations bill, which includes key provisions to expand access to treatment for substance use disorder, provide additional resources to first responders on the front lines of the overdose epidemic, and extend important controls enabling law enforcement officials to reduce the supply and availability of the illicitly manufactured fentanyl-related substances (FRS) driving overdose deaths.

To watch the event, click HERE.

To read President Biden’s Strategy, click HERE.

To read a fact sheet on President Biden’s Strategy, click HERE.

To read about the key actions the Biden-Harris Administration has taken to address addiction and the overdose epidemic, click HERE.


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