Physicians Trained to Use Buprenorphine; Drug Helps Those with Addiction to Opioids

Modified: September 14, 2016 11:15am

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 From the Office of the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Gale R. Burstein


Date September 14, 2016

CONTACT: Mary C. St. Mary/Mary.StMary@Erie.Gov

Phone: 716.858.4941/ Mobile: 716.253.3925


Physicians Trained to Use Buprenorphine

Drug helps those with addiction to opioids


ERIE COUNTY, NY— On Saturday, September 10, 2016, 32 Western New York physicians successfully completed a 4 hour in-person medical education session as part of eight-hour buprenorphine waiver training course that is required for physicians to prescribe and dispense buprenorphine. Under the Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000 (“DATA 2000”), physicians are required to complete an eight-hour training to qualify for a waiver to prescribe and dispense buprenorphine. Under DATA 2000, qualified U.S. physicians can offer buprenorphine for opioid dependency in various settings, including in an office, community hospital, health department, or correctional facility.

Buprenorphine represents the latest advance in medication-assisted treatment (“MAT”). Buprenorphine is an opioid partial agonist that lowers the potential for opioid misuse and diminishes the effects of physical dependency, such as withdrawal symptoms and cravings. When taken as prescribed, buprenorphine is safe and effective. Medications such as buprenorphine, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, provide a whole-patient approach to the treatment of opioid dependency.

“This training had significantly increased our ability as a community to be able to provide medication assisted treatment for people who may be struggling with opiate use disorder,” said Dr. Paul Updike, addiction specialist and director of chemical dependency at Catholic Health, who led the training. “Therapies like buprenorphine are important tools to help patients get in to a stable recovery.  The ability to access this important care has been limited by an inadequate number of providers in our community.  This training has significantly increased our ability as a community to provide these important, and potentially lifesaving treatments.”

“Increasing the number of doctors certified to prescribe buprenorphine has been a major focus of the Erie County Opiate Epidemic Task Force,” said Erie County Commissioner of Health, Dr. Gale Burstein. “Medication-assisted treatment provides people who are addicted to opioids the best chance to overcome their addiction. We know that abstinence-only programs have an extremely high failure rate, close to 100%.”

Special thanks to Catholic Health for hosting the training and to the Peter and Elizabeth Tower Foundation for funding support.

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For More Information:

Erie County Opiate Epidemic Task Force

24/7 Addictions Treatment Hotline: 716.831.7007 -- access to support and available services to those struggling with addiction and their loved ones

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Phone: (716) 858-7690

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Buffalo, New York 14202

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