Hello everyone! It was so wonderful to see many of you in New York, and I apologize for missing you at the most recent OTPG meeting. I hope this beautiful Spring weather has inspired everyone to do something fun and exciting! Speaking of fun and exciting, how many of you came to the open Board Meeting at the AATOD conference?!? I don’t recall seeing very many of you, so I’ll update you on what’s happening at the national level.
As is typical of the open board meeting, there were representatives from SAMHSA and DEA to update the field. SAMHSA representatives talked about how some of the STR funds have been used in different states and report that there is expansion of the hub and spoke model, conducted training, payment for treatment and medications, provided Naloxone to various groups of people, and many other objectives. Since SAMHSA allowed each State to decide how they were using the funds, there is a wide variety of projects being funded. As many of you know, in Georgia some of the funds were used to hold three two-day training sessions, in different parts of the State, for personnel outside of OTPs to become educated on the opioid crisis, the treatment options, and the value of coordination of care between OTPs and other entities that our patients may encounter. The second round of STR funds have been announced, so hopefully, OTPG will be able to provide more of those trainings in the coming year! SAMHSA also reminded us that TIP 63: Medications for Opioid Use Disorder has been published, as well as the Decisions in Recovery: Treatment for Opioid Use Disorders workbook. Both of these are available for digital download from the SAMHSA Store online.
The DEA update was not as enlightening for all of us that have been waiting for the release of some documents that have been in development for years. The updated best practices guidelines to the field are still not released but Jim Arnold with DEA advised us to “know we [DEA] are working hard” to get them released, but no timeline was provided. On the telemedicine front, Mr. Arnold said they have experienced some “bumps in the road” for the special registration for telemedicine and they are still waiting to finalize. Finally, Mr. Arnold relayed that DEA is “pretty darn close” and “hopefully, hopefully we’ll get [new mobile van regulations] out soon.”