Methadone prescription bill could ease restrictions for West Virginians
Tuesday, December 5, 2023
Senate lawmakers are soon expected to vote on the Modernizing Opioid Treatment Access Act, legislation introduced this year by Republican Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass.
The bill would allow doctors to prescribe and pharmacies to dispense methadone for people with opioid-use disorder. Currently, methadone is tightly regulated and can only be accessed through certified opioid treatment facilities.
Jordan Scott, digital advocacy coordinator for the Pennsylvania Harm Reduction Network, said the regulations mostly affect people in rural regions who cannot get to methadone clinics or who end up using diverted methadone, which can lead to arrests and time in jail.
"There are some states, like West Virginia, where there's a state law in effect that places a hold on any new opioid treatment programs opening within the state," Scott pointed out. "And when we look at really rural areas, those numbers of how many people able to access methadone goes down even further."
Methadone is a Schedule II drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act. Critics of the bill argue methadone is an opiate which can be abused, and in some cases may be replacing one addictive medication for another, especially if used in isolation, without counseling or as part of a treatment program.
Scott contends the bill would make people less likely to rely on using street-supply substances with a high risk of containing fentanyl, if they know they can obtain methadone safely and locally.
"If my closest clinic is an hour-and-a-half, two hours away, but my primary care doctor is 20 minutes away, this act would allow me to be able to go to my primary care doctor," Scott emphasized.
The Modernizing Opioid Treatment Access Act would also require the federal government to track data nationwide on methadone prescriptions and the number of providers.
get more stories like this via email
Health and Wellness
The Florida House is expected to follow the Senate's lead by signing off on an initiative to pour millions into the state's health care industry…
Pro-Ukraine rallies are planned in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco as well as cities across the United States this weekend, marking the …
New York activists are voicing serious concerns about the state's new congressional maps. The state's top court ordered new voting-district maps to …
New York lawmakers are calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to keep dredging the Hudson River. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., sent a …
A unique collaboration between Ford Motor Co. and 41 community and technical colleges across the country is helping students and the automotive …
A new survey reveals most Mainers support policies requiring medical providers to disclose their facility fees before they receive treatment…
People who receive emergency food services from New Mexico food banks and other charitable organizations were among those at a strategic summit Friday…
North Dakota voters are divided on climate change matters, according to new polling data. To get more community buy-in for climate solutions…