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 McCaskillMSNBC's McCaskill: Trump used 'his fat thumbs' to try to intimidate Yovanovitch GOP senator rips into Pelosi at Trump rally: 'It must suck to be that dumb' Iranian attacks expose vulnerability of campaign email accounts MORE (D-Mo.) and Alaska’s two Republican senators — Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiKey Republicans say Biden can break Washington gridlock Impeachment hearings don't move needle with Senate GOP Hillicon Valley: Federal inquiry opened into Google health data deal | Facebook reports millions of post takedowns | Microsoft shakes up privacy debate | Disney plus tops 10M sign-ups in first day MORE and Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanRomney, Collins, Murkowski only Senate GOP holdouts on Graham's impeachment resolution GOP worries it's losing impeachment fight Senate GOP introduces resolution condemning House impeachment inquiry 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 TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate 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.