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Make it easier for doctors to prescribe bupe

In this July 23, 2018, photo, inmate Shawn Coleman receives his daily dose of buprenorphine, a drug which controls heroin and opioid cravings, at the Franklin County Jail in Greenfield, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
In this July 23, 2018, photo, inmate Shawn Coleman receives his daily dose of buprenorphine, a drug which controls heroin and opioid cravings, at the Franklin County Jail in Greenfield, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) (Elise Amendola / AP)

I applaud Dr. Yngvild Olsen for her advocacy to improve treatment for opioid overdose and for The Baltimore Sun for printing such an important call to action (“We need more doctors who treat addictions,” May 15). In addition to the CARE Act, there are other important actions that can help improve access to treatment for those suffering from opioid use disorder.

One simple step is to deregulate buprenorphine, a safe and evidence-based treatment for opioid addiction. A new bill by New York Rep. PaulTonko (H.R. 2482: the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act) would end an outdated law that prohibits providers from prescribing buprenorphine without first obtaining additional certification. As a primary care provider, I have seen how buprenorphine can help patients in our Baltimore community overcome their addiction and focus on living healthy lives.

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The "X Waiver" that prohibits physicians from prescribing this life-saving medication is an unnecessary barrier and should be removed to further help address the opioid overdose crisis.

Dr. Justin Berk, Baltimore

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The writer is an internal medicine and pediatrics resident at Johns Hopkins University.

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