Buprenorphine is a life-sustaining medication. Abrupt discontinuation can lead to withdrawal as well as return to pretreatment substance use, overdose, and overdose death. The anxiety and stress associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, and the societal response to it, is exacerbating symptoms of opioid use disorder for many people. In addition, ongoing changes to the drug supply has increased the need for treatment. Every effort should be made to ensure that patients currently taking buprenorphine have timely access to refills of this medication and that any new patients in need of treatment for opioid use disorder can initiate treatment in a timely manner.
This resource was developed by a Task Force appointed by ASAM’s Executive Council. To enable more rapid development and dissem-ination it was not developed through ASAM’s normal process for clinical guidance development that is overseen by the ASAM Quality Improvement Council.
These materials seek to provide guidance to ambulatory addiction treatment clinicians, including those working in primary care, and in addiction treatment programs as they strive to ensure that patients continue to have safe, appropriate access to buprenorphine1 during the COVID-19 pandemic.