Senators urge new rule to combat opioid crisis in rural areas

Senators urge new rule to combat opioid crisis in rural areas
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Three senators are urging the Trump administration to quickly issue a new rule that would aim to increase access to opioid addiction treatment in rural areas.

Sens. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillEx-Rep. Akin dies at 74 Republicans may regret restricting reproductive rights Sunday shows preview: States deal with fallout of Ida; Texas abortion law takes effect MORE (D-Mo.) and Alaska’s two Republican senators — Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiHouse passes bill to expand workplace protections for nursing mothers Democrats look for plan B on filibuster Senate will vote on John Lewis voting bill as soon as next week MORE and Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanGOP leaders escalate battle against COVID-19 vaccine mandates Overnight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — Key CDC panel backs Moderna, J&J boosters GOP senators call on Biden to back down from vaccine mandates MORE — are requesting the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issue a new regulation that would let certain health-care providers obtain a special registration letting them use telemedicine to prescribe medication for an opioid addiction.

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“The bar on telemedicine prescribing of anti-addiction medication will continue to impact rural Americans, who often live far from dedicated treatment centers and mental health professionals,” the senators wrote in a letter Tuesday to DEA acting Administrator Robert Patterson.

Under current law, doctors can’t prescribe medication for an opioid addiction without an in-person medical evaluation.

President TrumpDonald TrumpYoungkin ad features mother who pushed to have 'Beloved' banned from son's curriculum White House rejects latest Trump claim of executive privilege Democrats say GOP lawmakers implicated in Jan. 6 should be expelled MORE, in late October, declared the opioid epidemic a national public health emergency, which was recently extended for another 90 days.

The senators note that in making the declaration, Trump “specifically supported” expanding telemedicine services, such as letting providers prescribe medication-assisted treatment remotely. This was included in a White House fact sheet on the declaration.

“The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), however, has yet to authorize a special registration process for the prescribing of controlled substances via telemedicine,” the senators wrote.