The provision of buprenorphine treatment under the Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000 (DATA 2000) legislation has increased access to medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction.
The Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000 (DATA 2000) allowed treatment for addiction with selected opioid medications to be provided in physicians offices. When sublingual formulations (drugs administered by placing the pill under the tongue) of buprenorphine (Subutex® and Suboxone®) were approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2002, they became the only opioid medication widely available for office-based treatment of opioid dependence (Fiellin 2007).
By 2005, more than 4,000 physicians had obtained waivers for office-based treatment and two-thirds of those were prescribing buprenorphine. More than half of the physicians did not identify themselves as addiction treatment specialists. The number of physicians certified to prescribe buprenorphine now has expanded to more than 14,500. The geographic distribution of sites able to offer treatment has also expanded. By the end of 2006, 300,000 patients were being treated nationwide (Fiellin 2007). Fewer than 15% had transferred from methadone treatment, indicating that buprenorphine likely was expanding treatment availability and not simply replacing other treatment modalities (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration 2006a).