This month, the federal government, through the Office of National Drug Control Policy, reached out to all 50 Governors about the urgent need for more doctors to be trained and certified to treat people with prescription opioid and heroin use disorders. The Obama Administration is offering free buprenorphine trainings, a type of medication-assisted treatment (MAT), which includes the use of FDA-approved medications like buprenorphine. MAT has proven more effective at helping people with opioid use disorders enter into long-term recovery. Other FDA approved medications to treat individuals with opioid use disorders are naltrexone and methadone.
As of February 2016, however, 1,489 counties did not have at least one physician with a buprenorphine waiver or someone to dispense buprenorphine from a doctor’s office. The vast majority of need for these treatments is in rural areas.
To help address the need for treatment providers, the Administration offers free buprenorphine trainings for physicians through the Providers Clinical Support System for MAT.  These trainings, called DATA 2000 waiver trainings, provide information to physicians on treating individuals with opioid use disorders. After being trained, physicians can be certified by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to properly and safely administer buprenorphine to individuals with opioid use disorders.
Federal and State agencies have used their authorities to take every available action to address the opioid epidemic. In July of this year, for example, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a final rule that increases from 100 to 275 the number of patients qualified physicians who prescribe buprenorphine for opioid use disorders can treat.
More information on the process for prescribing or dispensing buprenorphine and the training is available here.