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Change Will Allow NPs, PAs to Prescribe Buprenorphine

Nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) can begin taking the 24 hours of training required to prescribe buprenorphine, the treatment for opioid use disorder.

Previously, only physicians could prescribe buprenorphine. But beginning in early 2017, NPs and PAs who have completed the necessary training can prescribe the treatment for up to 30 patients per year. The training will be offered at no cost through the Provider’s Clinical Support System – Medication Assisted Treatment program, funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), or through the following organizations:

  • American Society of Addiction Medicine;
  • American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry;
  • American Medical Association;
  • American Osteopathic Association;
  • American Nurses Credentialing Center;
  • American Psychiatric Association;
  • American Association of Nurse Practitioners; and
  • American Academy of Physician Assistants.

SAMHSA also finalized a rule in July to expand access to medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorders by increasing the number of prescriptions that physicians can write. SAMHSA announced its intention to create a waiver process for NPs and PAs to prescribe buprenorphine treatment for up to 100 patients per year.

Contact Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at or 202.585.0127 with questions.


About the Author

Matt Buechner is the policy and advocacy associate for America's Essential Hospitals.

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