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ARNPs United of Washington State

Becoming a Suboxone Prescriber

Posted over 1 year ago by Nancy Lawton

How you can help your patients struggling with prescription drug use or heroin

Nurse practitioners and physician assistants can begin the required training to prescribe buprenorphine-naloxone, for the office-based treatment of opioid dependence.

Why does this matter?

In 2015, more Americans died from drug overdoses than from motor vehicle crashes, homicides, suicides or gun-related injuries. Most overdoses were from prescription pain medications with a rising portion from heroin overdoses.[1] Nurse practitioners and physician assistants successfully lobbied for legislation[2] to be able to step up and meet this patient treatment need. Now they can.

How do nurse practitioners and physician assistants become waivered to prescribe?

  • Take the 8 hour physician course on buprenorphine. Coursework can be done on-line, in person or a mixed “half and half course”. Options are listed at https://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment/training-resources/buprenorphine-physician-training
  • Complete 16 hours of approved coursework. As it is finalized, updates on training information will be available at http://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment. Training will be available at no cost through the SAMHSA-funded Provider’s Clinical Support System - Medication Assisted Treatment program (http://pcssmat.org/education-training/). In addition, training or conferences may be offered by the American Society of Addiction Medicine, American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, American Medical Association, American Osteopathic Association, American Nurses Credentialing Center, American Psychiatric Association, American Association of Nurse Practitioners, and American Academy of Physician Assistants.

For more information, please contact Mary Catlin at mary.catlin@doh.wa.gov. or Nancy Lawton at nelawton1@gmail.com

[1] DEA 2016 National Drug Threat Assessment Summary. DEA-DCT-DIR-001-17. November 2016. (https://www.dea.gov/resource-center/2016%20NDTA%20Summary.pdf)

[2] Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA).