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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 McCaskillThe Memo: Dem hopes for 2020 grow in midterms afterglow Schumer’s headaches to multiply in next Congress Pro-Israel organizations should finally seek payback against Iran deal Dems MORE (D-Mo.) and Alaska’s two Republican senators — Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiTrump and Pelosi set to collide as Democrats celebrate their power Poll: Palin unpopular in Alaska following jab at Murkowski Conservatives bankrolled and dominated Kavanaugh confirmation media campaign MORE and Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanHundreds of female Alaska attorneys call on Murkowski, Sullivan to vote 'no' on Kavanaugh Hillicon Valley: Seven Russians indicted for hacking | Apple, Amazon servers reportedly compromised by China | Pence calls on Google to end censored search engine work | Ireland investigates Facebook breach Senate passes key cyber bill cementing cybersecurity agency at DHS 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 John TrumpTrump to oust Nielsen as early as this week: report California wildfire becomes deadliest in state’s history Sinema’s Senate win cheered by LGBTQ groups 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.