In 2004, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) estimated that there were 270,000 heroin users and another 1.4 million Americans who were dependent on prescription opioids (SAMSHA 2005). In fact, these figures probably vastly underestimate the true prevalence of opioid use disorders in the United States (SAMHSA 2005). Further, only a small fraction of these users have received treatment for an opioid use disorder (SAMHSA 2005).
Buprenorphine is a safe and effective treatment for opioid dependence that offers patients a more widely available, accessible, convenient treatment option as compared to traditional opioid treatment programs (OTP) (SAMHSA 2001; Johnson et al. 2003; SAMHSA 2004). The Drug Addiction Treatment Act (DATA) of 2000 -- an amendment to the Controlled Substances Act -- allows physicians who are not part of an OTP to prescribe buprenorphine. However, the law requires physicians to complete an 8-hour buprenorphine training conducted by an approved organization in order to prescribe it.
The courses in this training program prepare physicians to prescribe buprenorphine safely and effectively to address needs of the millions of Americans with opioid use problems. In addition, when completed together as a program, the 12 courses comprise a training program that has been developed to meet the DATA 2000 training guidelines as defined in Public Law 106-310-106th Congress and endorsed by the American Society of Addiction Medicine, one of the approved training organizations named in DATA 2000. The course content is based upon SAMHSA’s 2004 publication Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) #40: Clinical Guidelines for the Use of Buprenorphine in the Treatment of Opioid Addiction. The courses are regularly reviewed and updated by ASAM members who are experts in the field of addiction medicine and buprenorphine treatment.
The courses in this training program prepare physicians to prescribe buprenorphine safely and effectively to treat opioid dependence. This CME course and the overall buprenorphine training program addresses a performance gap in clinical practice. The course will facilitate physicians to prescribe buprenorphine to their opioid dependent patients, with a long term goal of decreasing opioid problems for these patients.
Johnson RE, Strain EC, Amass L. Buprenorphine: how to use it right. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2003; 70(suppl 2): S59-S77.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Clinical Guidelines for the Use of Buprenorphine in the Treatment of Opioid Addiction. Rockville, Md: Center For Substance Abuse Treatment. Treatment Improvement Protocol Series, No. 40, USDHHS Publication (SMA) 04-3939. 2004.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Overview of Findings From the 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Rockville, Md: Office of Applied Studies. 2005. Available at: http://oas.samhsa.gov/NSDUH/2k4NSDUH/2k4Overview/2k4Overview.pdf
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Use of Buprenorphine in the Pharmacologic Management of Opioid Dependence: A Curriculum for Physicians. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 2001.