Jun 6 2016
01:12 pm

State Sen. Ken Yager has formally protested a federal agency's move to let doctors issue prescriptions to more patients for the use of a drug designed to treat opioid addiction, contending the move opens the door to substituting abuse of one drug for another.

From the Knoxville News Sentinel:

The Kingston Republican, who chairs the Senate State and Local Government Committee, said in a news release last week that he has filed formal comments with the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration opposing the rule proposed by the U.S. Health and Human Services Administration.

The rule deals with buprenorphine, a substitute opioid used to treat opioid addiction, mostly marketed under the name Suboxone. Under current rules, an individual doctor can prescribe the medication to no more than 100 patients in a year. The proposed change would allow up to 200 patients per year.

"This proposal is an important step to increasing access to evidence-based treatment to help more people get the treatment necessary for their recovery and is critical in our comprehensive approach to addressing the serious opioid epidemic facing our nation," HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell said in a March 29 news release announcing the revised rule.

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To date, the failure to expand Medicaid / TennCare has cost the State of Tennessee ? in lost federal funding.