A call to maximize impact of the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act through standard inclusion of opioid use disorder treatment curricula in medical schools

Adv Med Educ Pract. 2019 Aug 2;10:581-583. doi: 10.2147/AMEP.S205946. eCollection 2019.


Physicians who want to prescribe buprenorphine to treat opioid use disorder require a waiver established by the Drug Addiction Treatment Act (DATA) of 2000, often through completion of an eight-hour training course. This is an issue for a number of reasons, including that opioid overdose deaths continue to rise nationally. However, on October 24, 2018, the SUPPORT (Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment) for Patients and Communities Act was signed into law. This bill allows any physician who graduates in good standing from an allopathic or osteopathic medical school in the United States that incorporates necessary material around opioid misuse in their standard curriculum, without need for any additional training, to prescribe buprenorphine. This perspective piece describes why this is an important first step and what more needs to be done within medical education to combat the opioid epidemic.

Keywords: buprenorphine waiver; medical education; opioid use disorder.