Coronavirus Crisis Opens Access To Online Opioid Addiction Treatment

Opioid addiction isn’t taking a break during the coronavirus pandemic.

But the U.S. response to the viral crisis is making addiction treatment easier to get.

Under the national emergency declared by the Trump administration in March, the government has suspended a federal law that required patients to have an in-person visit with a physician before they could be prescribed drugs that help quell withdrawal symptoms, such as Suboxone. Patients can now get those prescriptions via a phone call or videoconference with a doctor.

Addiction experts have been calling for that change for years to help expand access for patients in many parts of country that have shortages of physicians eligible to prescribe these medication-assisted treatments. A federal report in January found that 40% of U.S. counties don’t have a single health care provider approved to prescribe buprenorphine, an active ingredient in Suboxone.

A 2018 law called for the new policy,

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A Desperate Scramble As COVID-19 Families Vie For Access To Plasma Therapy

Stephen Garcia’s family is frantic. The auto body worker, just 32 years old, has been on a ventilator in a Los Angeles-area hospital for nearly two weeks, gravely ill with COVID-19, unresponsive — and unaware of the battle they’re waging on his behalf.

For days, Garcia’s mother, his aunt and his girlfriend have pleaded with doctors at Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center to try an experimental treatment — blood plasma from people recovered from COVID-19 — in hopes of saving his life.

They know it’s not at all a sure thing. But they’ve seen stories from across the country: an anesthesiologist in Colorado, an Orlando father of three, a dozen patients at a hospital in Texas, all of whom have received what’s known as convalescent plasma, an investigational therapy to halt the deadly virus. And they wonder why Garcia — the outgoing, ambitious father of a 9-year-old

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