These reports are authored by GW Regulatory Studies Center scholars Bridget C.E. Dooling and Laura E. Stanley with support from The Pew Charitable Trusts.
Telehealth, COVID-19, and the Opioid Crisis
Published February 23, 2021
Do federal regulatory agencies have the authority to extend flexibilities for the treatment of opioid use disorder beyond the COVID-19 pandemic?
Bridget C.E. Dooling and Laura E. Stanley provide details on the rulemaking background for medical practitioners and policy makers, and layout their findings on what the Drug Enforcement Administration and Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration can do going forward.
Published April 22, 2021
In response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency (SAMHSA) made it easier for patients to receive take-home supplies of methadone and buprenorphine. This report explores the effects of this policy change, and explains why SAMHSA has the legal authority to extend this flexibility beyond the pandemic to help treat opioid use disorder
"The coronavirus crisis has upended American life, and fresh ideas are needed for dealing with the problems it’s creating. Here is a collection of smart solutions." - Washington Post
Laura Stanley's essay was featured as one of the Washington Post's smart ideas to reduce the impact of the coronavirus on our lives.
Read Laura's full essay: Bring back the methadone vans
"People struggling with opioid use disorder deserve increased access to telemedicine treatment after the pandemic, and federal regulators have the power to make it happen. The Biden administration should act now to preserve this flexibility."
Bridget Dooling and Laura Stanley's op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer argues that one thing the federal government got right during the pandemic was making it easier for people to begin opioid use disorder treatment.
Laura Stanley joins GW Regulatory Studies Center communications and outreach manager Bryce Chinault to discuss related regulations at the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The Trump administration made a last-minute attempt to provide flexibilities for prescribing buprenorphine to treat opioid use disorder. The Biden administration changed course and decided not to publish the associated guidelines due to legal and policy concerns. Although HHS appears to have the legal authority to provide exemptions from buprenorphine requirements, taking time to ensure flexibilities are legally defensible will promote the uptake of the policies in the long term.
Read Laura Stanley's full Commentary: A Last-Minute Attempt to Partially X the X Waiver