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As the country reels from record-high rates of opioid abuse and overdoses, medication-assisted treatment — which combines medication and behavioral therapy — has shown particular promise in combating the epidemic. But it also faces major challenges to widespread use, including the costs and limits on doctors who can provide it.
President Trump on Thursday declared a nationwide public health emergency to battle the opioid crisis. It’s not as aggressive of a response as the president’s commission recommended in July, but a public health emergency, which lasts for 90 days, does allow the Department of Health and Human Services to redirect existing resources to combat opioid abuse. And under the Public Health Service Act, the determination could allow HHS specifically to waive restrictions on doctors who want to prescribe drugs used in medication-assisted treatment.