COVID-19 is a pandemic that worsened the already existing epidemic of opioid use disorder (OUD). Last year, Massachusetts lost 2,104 people to confirmed and estimated opioid overdoses – more than ever before. It is as critical as ever that we promote and destigmatize treatment, especially medication for opioid use disorders (MOUD). That is why I applaud the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for its new rule allowing methadone providers to include mobile dispensation in their existing registrations.
I have worked with federal partners, including the DEA, to ensure methadone regulations are not overly burdensome to jails and houses of corrections that run MOUD programs like ours. This rule will help reentry efforts in jurisdictions across the country, including Middlesex County. It will expand access to methadone in rural areas that lack a brick-and-mortar clinic. That will save lives, especially when combined with behavioral health treatment programs.
We need more community-based care in order to strengthen the continuity of our care. Enhancing access to MOUD is key to preventing relapses, which means fewer overdoses and fewer deaths. This rule is a positive step towards more successful recoveries and successful reentries for those that most need our support.
Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian