Opioid overdose remains a massive threat to the population, with tens of thousands of people dying yearly. This is why doctors working with patients experiencing opioid use disorder across the country continue to vouch for telehealth rules to remain flexible, especially ones about opioid addiction and use. Maximizing telehealth resources create a link between patients struggling with opioid use and the health they so desperately need.
Before the pandemic began in 2020, medical practitioners had the authority to prescribe certain drugs only after physically interacting with the patient. This included medications like methadone and buprenorphine, which were popularly known as opioid disorder medications. When the pandemic reached its climax, in-person visits to health facilities became limited and monitored. Most opioid patients would not get the help they required fast enough. To deal with this challenge, the existing laws were reconfigured to allow telehealth visits and prescriptions for controlled substances.
The simplistic nature of transaction using telehealth methods have made it easier to get help from far and wide. The issue remains the temporary nature of the rules surrounding controlled substance prescriptions. In a few months, when the government reverts to the physical visit rules, telehealth for opioid treatments becomes a thing of the past, and treatments become harder to fulfill. Because doctors will no longer be able to use video or online meetings to prescribe buprenorphine, the risk of opioid-related addictions ad deaths might increase again.
Doctors understand the risk tied to opioid usage. This is why they hope the government will maintain the current stance on telehealth and controlled drug prescriptions. After all, isn’t the essence of medicine to save lives? Allowing telehealth to continue functioning for buprenorphine and other controlled drugs should be a given.