The share of U.S. overdose deaths involving buprenorphine did not increase after federal agencies allowed clinicians to prescribe the opioid use disorder treatment remotely, among other flexibilities during the COVID-19 public health emergency, according to a federal study reported today in JAMA Network Open. 

“Research has shown beyond a doubt that medications for opioid use disorder are overwhelmingly beneficial and can be lifesaving, yet they continue to be vastly underused,” said senior author Nora Volkow, M.D., director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Expanding more equitable access to these medications for people with substance use disorders is a critical part of our nation’s response to the overdose crisis.”

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