How Nurse Practitioners Are Key to Expanding the Opioid Treatment Workforce

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This National Substance Abuse Prevention Month, discover why nurse practitioners (NPs) can increase patient access to critical medication-assisted treatments (MATs).

Research has repeatedly shown that barriers preventing advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) from practicing at the top of their licensure have the potential to negatively impact our nation's health.

As the United States continues work to address the ongoing opioid crisis, patient access to substance use disorder (SUD) treatment remains a significant barrier. NPs are well positioned, with graduate degrees and advanced clinical training, to assess patients, order and interpret diagnostic tests, develop treatment plans and prescribe medications. A study also found that NPs are more likely to practice in rural and underserved regions, particularly among states with higher numbers of opioid use and abuse.

In a recent article for The Journal for Nurse Practitioners (JNP), AANP State Policy Coordinator Julia Dieperink, MA, and AANP Research Specialist Chantel DePaepe, MPH, examined the results of the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) Act. This act, which was signed into law in October 2018, permanently authorizes NPs to prescribe MATs once they have obtained a buprenorphine waiver from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Overall, the number of NPs with buprenorphine waivers has substantially increased. NPs in Full Practice Authority states were also found to be more likely to have a buprenorphine waiver than those in Reduced or Restricted States.

Read the Article

Make a Difference Today!

If you believe in increasing patient access to MATs through the adoption of Full Practice Authority for NPs, become an advocate! Share the Nurse Practitioners: Improving Patient Outcomes for Opioid Use Disorder infographic with your colleagues and policymakers. The infographic can help you explain why it’s important for the U.S. to retire outdated laws that stand between patients and the opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment they deserve.

View and Download the Infographic