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SAMHSA Extends Methadone Take-Home Flexibility for One Year

Posted 11/18/2021

Thursday, November 18, 2021 - The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is extending the methadone take-home flexibilities for one year, effective upon the eventual expiration of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. This exemption is a continuation of the take-home medication flexibilities that SAMHSA put in place in March 2020 and is in keeping with the newly announced Health and Human Services (HHS) Overdose Prevention Strategy. SAMHSA is also considering mechanisms to make this flexibility permanent.

The March 2020 exemption was issued to protect public health by reducing the risk of COVID-19 infections among patients and health care providers. While the take-home flexibility achieved that goal, it also proved to have other benefits for patients in Opioid Treatment Programs (OTP). SAMHSA allowed Opioid Treatment Programs to dispense 28 days of take-home methadone doses to stable patients for the treatment of opioid use disorder, and up to 14 doses of take-home methadone for less stable patients, who the OTP determines can safely handle this level of take-home medication.

?The methadone take-home flexibility has received widespread support among patients, service providers, and state authorities,? said HHS Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D., the leader of SAMHSA. ?Innovative treatment solutions like this are in line with the Biden-Harris Administration?s efforts to make it easier to connect Americans to effective recovery solutions and support.?

For more information about the methadone flexibilities, please read this guidance with frequently asked questions.

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