NCCHC Supports Access to MOUD - National Commission on Correctional Health Care
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Recovery Month 3Sep 9, 2022

NCCHC Supports Access to MOUD

September is National Recovery Month, a time to honor the more than 20 million Americans in recovery from substance use disorder. Evidence-based treatment is the first step toward recovery, and medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) are proven to significantly reduce the risk of overdose and support those who need them on the road to recovery.  

NCCHC recently joined 166 national organizations in signing a letter to Senate leadership in support of increased access to buprenorphine, an FDA-approved MOUD, through passage of the bipartisan Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act.

Buprenorphine is a safe and effective treatment for opioid use disorder. It has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of overdose death, and it keeps thousands of people with OUD from returning to illicit drug use – and to jail and prison.

However, outdated rules around buprenorphine, known as the X-waiver, severely hinder access to the lifesaving medication by preventing health care providers from prescribing it. Because of the X-waiver, only about 1 in 10 people with opioid use disorder receive medications for the condition, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The Department of Health and Human Services reports that fully 40% of U.S. counties lack a single health care provider who can prescribe buprenorphine for opioid use disorder.

If passed, the MAT Act will remove this barrier, making buprenorphine more available and accessible for Americans with OUD by eliminating the X-waiver.

People with OUD who return to their communities after incarceration have a high risk of fatal and nonfatal overdoses. Treating them while in custody, including with buprenorphine, can literally save lives.

“In the midst of a deadly and accelerating overdose crisis, the MAT Act is a common-sense solution that will prevent overdoses, increase access to treatment, and reduce stigma,” the letter reads.

The letter was sent to Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Chair Patty Murray, and Ranking Member Richard Burr on August 31, Overdose Awareness Day. Read the letter and see the signatories here.

For more information, see our MAT/MOUD resources.

For help improving, updating, or implementing an MOUD program at your facility, contact NCCHC Resources, Inc., NCCHC’s consulting subsidiary.

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