Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the federal government is loosening regulations concerning requirements for in-person visit before a physician can prescribe drugs such as Suboxone. According to the article, some addiction advocates have called for such a change in regulations and are calling for it to continue after the coronavirus crisis.
While the change makes sense given the current restrictions imposed by social distancing, opening access to opioids historically comes with unintended consequences. Suboxone, for example, has a significant track record of diversion. Additionally, medication without associated support and recovery services is an incomplete solution.
This isn’t to say that Suboxone shouldn’t be used, but rather that it should not be viewed as a silver bullet and can’t be dispensed in a vacuum. The true test of the policy shift will not be in the number of Suboxone prescriptions (or other medications) written, but in the final tally of how many of those prescriptions were diverted and and the number of individuals with addiction problems who make it into successful long term recovery.