Lewis Nelson, professor and chair of emergency medicine at the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, is available to discuss the loosened restrictions in prescribing buprenorphine to treat opioid use disorder, an issue many physicians have advocated for to help reduce opioid-related deaths.
“The loosening of the restrictions for prescribing buprenorphine is a welcome step in the treatment of patients with opioid use disorder, and although unclear about the impact of this move, some reticent physicians will likely embrace this practice,” said Nelson, who is also an expert in opioid addiction and treatments. “The hope is that by removing the training requirement for a waiver to prescribe this medication, more physicians will use this medication to address this life-altering and often fatal disease.”
“One concern, however, is that without some training, physicians may remain reluctant to use this drug due to its complicated effects or due to persistent misunderstanding of the disease of addiction. Training and systems are widely available to provide the necessary initial support even without the waiver training. The paradox has always been that while you need specific training and a waiver to prescribe a relatively safe and effective medication such as buprenorphine, you do not need either to prescribe an opioid, a dangerous class of medications that led to the need for buprenorphine in the first place.”
Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS) takes an integrated approach to educating students, providing clinical care and conducting research, all with the goal of improving human health. Aligned with Rutgers University–New Brunswick, and collaborating university-wide, RBHS includes eight schools, a behavioral health network and four centers and institutes. RBHS offers an outstanding education in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, public health, nursing, biomedical research and the full spectrum of allied health careers. RBHS clinical and academic facilities are located throughout the state.