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Practical Advice and Lessons for the Post-COVID OUD Treatment Landscape

July 19, 2023

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government and many states offered regulatory flexibilities intended to make it easier for people with opioid use disorder (OUD) to get treatment. Now that the public health emergency (PHE) declaration has come to an end, there is confusion as to which policies remain in effect and which have already ended or may soon end.

In a new issue brief from the Foundation for Opioid Response Efforts and Manatt, Phelps, and Phillips, LLP, researchers offer practical information on the current regulatory landscape of OUD treatment and lessons learned from the pandemic about what works to engage and keep people in treatment.

“The pandemic brought with it many painful lessons and tremendous loss, but in treatment for OUD, it also showed us what is possible,” the authors say. “Issues that previously seemed intractable or were just accepted as the norm saw rapid advancement and resolution. As we emerge from the PHE, we are equipped with a growing body of research supporting enhanced flexibilities, but we are also challenged by the persistent unease about taking advantage of these flexibilities, possibly in part because of the pace of change over the past several years. These dynamics are playing out against an increasingly potent and dynamic drug supply, making it all the more critical to ensure equitable access to effective treatment.”