RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares has joined the attorneys general of 41 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam in an effort to urge the United States Drug Enforcement Administration to permanently extend the use of telehealth in treating opioid use disorder.
According to a release from the Miyares’ office, in March of 2020, the DEA allowed telemedicine services to prescribe buprenorphine, one of three medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat addiction.
This condition will expire coinciding with the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency, which could lead to an estimated 2.5 million American adults who take buprenorphine to lose access to it.
In response, the group of attorneys general is sending an open letter to United States Attorney General Merrick Garland, as well as Anne Milgram of the DEA, Xavier Becerra of the Department of Health and Human Services and Dr. Miriam Delphin-Rittmon of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration urging them to permanently grant telehealth services the ability to prescribe buprenorphine.
“The need to ensure medical resources for Virginians battling opioid abuse has never been greater. Enabling creative, effective strategies, such as verified telemedicine, provides those suffering with potential treatment options which is especially important to those living in underserved areas,” said Miyares.
According to the release, more than 100,000 people died from overdoses in the United States in 2021.