With the passage and signing into law of a federal omnibus appropriations bill last week, the requirement that healthcare providers possess a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) X-waiver to prescribe buprenorphine to treat opioid use disorder (OUD) has been eliminated. The move is intended to expand access to addiction treatment.
Named for the “x” that accompanies a narcotics prescribing license, DEA X-waivers have been required to prescribe buprenorphine, a Schedule III drug, as treatment for OUD. Applying for an X-waiver required providers to undergo additional training. The X‑waiver requirement had also limited the number of patients providers can treat. It was largely seen as a barrier preventing many practitioners from treating addiction.
Read the White House’s statement on elimination of the X-waiver.