Under the Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000, qualified providers can obtain a waiver separate from the Narcotics Addict Treatment Act to treat opioid dependency with Schedule III, IV and V medications, or combinations of medications approved by the FDA for that indication. Buprenorphine, which is used to curb the use of prescription opioids and heroin, is the most recent advance in medication-assisted therapies. It is used in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies to provide a whole-person approach. Once certified, prescribers can offer Buprenorphine for opioid dependency in an office, community hospital, health department or correctional facility.
These certification courses are designed for physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and members of the health care team who are applying evidenced-based practices for opioid dependency. There are currently only 27 opioid-treatment-specific programs operational in Washington State, and it will take a larger contingent of providers to bend the curve on our current opioid crisis.