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HHS Delays Guidelines, DATA2000 Waiver Still Required to Prescribe Suboxone

Published: Feb 26, 2021 by Levi Tkach

In mid-January 2021, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a significant shift in addiction medicine policy that would have allowed most doctors to prescribe buprenorphine to treat opioid use disorder without taking the current training or receiving a DEA DATA2000 Waiver (“X-number”). However, one month later, SAMHSA clarified stating that the HHS announcement was, “premature.” The brief clarification statement from SAMHSA is available here .

Until SAMHSA formally changes its policy, doctors must attend an eight-hour course and obtain an X-waiver before they can prescribe buprenorphine as part of Medication Assisted Treatment for opioid abuse disorder. While SAMHSA does stress that it is committed to examining ways to “increase access to buprenorphine, reduce overdose rates and save lives,” it did not indicate if the previously announced policy change would occur or when.

If you are a medical provider with a DATA2000 waiver or are considering using buprenorphine for patients with opioid use disorder, and you have questions regarding regulatory compliance, you should consider contacting the attorneys at Graff & McGovern, LPA. Our attorneys have decades of experience representing licensed professionals, including representation of Physicians and other licensees of the State Medical Board of Ohio and Ohio Board of Pharmacy. Attorney Levi Tkach can be reached at