U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) releases updates:

Historic Changes to Opioid Treatment Program Policies

Hello Prescriber,


For the first time in more than two decades, the HHS has published updates to the rules governing opioid use disorder treatment in Opioid Treatment Programs (OTP). Some of the updates include:

  • Permanently expanding eligibility for take-home doses of methadone initiation of buprenorphine and methadone via telehealth (audio-visual or audio-only), and methadone (audio-visual only).
  • Allowing nurse practitioners and physician assistants to order medications.

In alignment with the rule, the HHS announced that SAMHSA will also be taking the following actions:

  • Removing the requirement that patients have one year of opioid addiction before admission to an OTP.
  • Promoting the integration of harm reduction and recovery support services into OTPs and further aligning the definition of treatment practitioner with the existing workforce of appropriately licensed practitioners.
  • Providing clarification around the status of carceral settings that are registered with the DEA as a hospital/clinic under the definition of long-term care facility to support jails in providing methadone treatment.

Updated Overdose Prevention and Response Toolkit

This updated toolkit has been released through SAMHSA and includes guidance on opioid overdose reversal medications (including naloxone and nalmefene), including specific recommendations for first responders and healthcare providers.

HHS also announced new grant funding opportunities to purchase test strips for xylazine, an animal sedative known as “tranq”, that is often mixed with fentanyl and associated with a range of health complications.


Additional details regarding the above updates are also shared in an HHS fact sheet

For any questions regarding these updates or medications for opioid use disorder, please reach out to 1-866-337-DACS (3227) 

[email protected]

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1-866-337-DACS (3227) | www.districtacs.org | [email protected]