Sylvia Mathews Burwell

Obama administration expands access to heroin treatment drug

Obama administration expands access to heroin treatment drug

The Obama administration will nearly triple the number of patients a doctor may treat with the controversial heroin addiction drug buprenorphine, a move that public health officials say may expand access to treatment in heavily addicted cities such as Baltimore.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will formally announce a long-anticipated regulation Wednesday to permit physicians to treat up to 275 patients with the drug — considered safer and more convenient than methadone — compared with the current, 100-patient cap. The change, which does not require approval from Congress, will take effect in early August.

Supporters have sought for years to lift the cap,...

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