Authors Posts by Jason Snyder

Jason Snyder


The Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) will offer an instructor-led, two-hour training titled, “Xylazine: A New Drug Additive.” Savage Sisters Recovery, a Pennsylvania nonprofit that provides trauma-informed recovery housing, harm reduction, outreach, and statewide education, will lead the training.

According to a recent New York Times article, “In Philadelphia, and increasingly in drug hot zones around the country, an animal tranquilizer called xylazine — known by street names like ‘tranq,’ ‘tranq dope’ and ‘zombie drug’ — is being used to bulk up illicit fentanyl, making its impact even more devastating.

“Xylazine causes wounds that erupt with a scaly dead tissue called eschar; untreated, they can lead to amputation. It induces a blackout stupor for hours, rendering users vulnerable to rape and robbery. When people come to, the high from the fentanyl has long since faded and they immediately crave more. Because xylazine is a sedative and not an opioid, it resists standard opioid overdose reversal treatments.”

This instructor-led training will provide information on national and statewide opioid statistics and updates on current drug supply trends, including critical information on xylazine. A demonstration of overdose reversal procedures when the presence of xylazine is suspected is also included in this training.

DDAP is holding two sessions of this training at its office in Harrisburg on May 25, 2023. Please visit DDAP’s Training Management System for details and to register. Pennsylvania Certification Board continuing education credits will be available for these sessions.

RCPA SUD Treatment Services Policy Director Jason Snyder will testify on Thursday, March 9, at the Center for Rural Pennsylvania’s hearing, “New Developments in the Opioid and Substance Use Disorder Crisis in Rural Pennsylvania.”

Snyder will testify on a panel that will examine SUD treatment workforce and regulation. Justin Wolford, Director of Outpatient Services at RCPA member CenClear, also will testify on the panel. Wolford will focus on the workforce crisis, while Snyder will discuss regulations that exacerbate the crisis and should be reformed.

The hearing will be comprised of four total panels:

  • Developments in the Supply of Narcotics;
  • Data Resources;
  • Funding and Programming; and
  • Workforce and Regulations.

The hearing begins at 9:00 am and will take place in the Main Capitol Building, Room 8E-B, in Harrisburg. It also will be livestreamed online.

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is proposing to roll back flexibilities implemented during the public health emergency (PHE) in tele-prescribing buprenorphine. The proposed new regulation would mandate an initial in-person visit with a prescriber in order for a patient to receive more than a 30-day buprenorphine prescription. Since 2020, those with opioid use disorder have been able to receive prescriptions for buprenorphine, including the initial prescription, following a tele-appointment.

Patients who began buprenorphine treatment during the PHE under the expanded flexibilities would have a 180-day grace period but would then need to see a prescriber in person before continuing treatment under the DEA’s proposed rule.

The proposed rule and instructions for providing comments are available online. The public comment period closes March 31, 2023.

Photo by Markus Winkler from Pexels

On May 1, Beacon Health Options of Pennsylvania, Inc., the behavioral health Medicaid managed care organization serving members in Western Pennsylvania, is becoming Carelon Health of Pennsylvania, Inc.

In June 2022, Beacon’s parent company Elevance Health announced the launch of Carelon, a new healthcare services brand. The name Carelon is derived from the word “care” and suffix “-lon,” which means full and complete. Beacon is joining with other businesses across the nation under the Carelon brand to provide ongoing healthcare services to support whole-person health.

Provider contracts, reimbursement, policies, and points of contact will all remain the same. All existing phone numbers, emails, websites, and portals will redirect to the Carelon-branded locations with no action required from providers.

Providers with questions can call 877-615-8503.

Today, the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) issued Licensing Alert 01-2023 to detail continued expansion of the availability of take-home methadone through the ongoing suspension of 28 Pa. Code § 715.16(e).

On Feb. 9, 2023, the US Department of Health and Human Services announced the final renewal of the federal public health emergency (PHE) declaration. The PHE will not be renewed when it expires on May 11, 2023. Both the federal and Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs’ (DDAP) expansions of the availability of take-home methadone will remain in place until May 11, 2024. DDAP will keep the field aware of developments at the federal level that could extend flexibilities beyond May 2024. Read the full alert and background information on the regulatory suspension.

With the passage of the 2023 federal omnibus bill, which included the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act, Congress eliminated the “DATA-Waiver Program.” The DATA-waiver is commonly referred to as the X-waiver.

Now, the requirement to have an X-waiver from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) to prescribe buprenorphine, a Schedule III narcotic, for opioid use disorder (OUD) has been removed. Any prescriber with a general DEA license can prescribe the medication.

DDAP is reminding DEA registrants of the following:

  • A DATA-Waiver registration is no longer required to treat patients with buprenorphine for OUD.
  • Going forward, all prescriptions for buprenorphine only require a standard DEA registration number. The previously used DATA-Waiver registration numbers are no longer needed for any prescription.
  • There are no longer any limits or patient caps on the number of patients a prescriber may treat for opioid use disorder with buprenorphine.
  • In Pennsylvania, no current state laws or regulations prohibit practitioners from adopting this change.

Separately, the Act also introduced new training requirements for all prescribers. These requirements will go into effect on June 21, 2023. The DEA and SAMHSA are actively working to provide further guidance and DEA will follow up with additional information on these requirements. Please contact the DEA’s Diversion Control Division Policy Section for additional guidance.