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Overview: The Waiver Process

By September 25, 2019Uncategorized

The Drug and Treatment Act of 2002 (DATA 2000) gives physicians the permission to prescribe buprenorphine and buprenorphine/naloxone for treatment purposes, once the physician has completed the required training and has received necessary certification by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Buprenorphine products can be prescribed by a certified, and qualified physician in any facility that medical practice is permitted.

Under DATA 2000 a DEA certified physician is someone who is licensed by the state to practice medicine, and has trained under DEA to administer narcotics. In the first year this physician is permitted to treat no more than 30 patients per year, and must be able to refer the patient to another facility for further treatment. 


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A DEA-X notification is then given to the physician after Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) verifies that the background of the physician is correct and valid. When an order of buprenorphine is made two different numbers are entered into the order- the physician’s DEA registration number, and another ID number that shows the physician is DATA 2000 certified.


 Am I eligible to obtain a waiver?


Residents who want to be DATA 2000 certified

DATA 2000 does not exclude physicians who are still in residency training, so there are residents who are certified to administer buprenorphine.There are, however, certain states that have more strict guidelines than others, for example, some states do not permit residents to prescribe Schedule III medications even if it is for treatment purposes. 


Physicians working in Correctional Facilities

Providers who work with detained patients may obtain a waiver, to prescribe medication to those who those who need treatment. The rules pertaining to this however may vary by state. Methadone treatment has varying treatment regimens, and this is very likely the case for buprenorphine. Under DATA 2000 providers in these settings are also restricted to treating a certain amount of patients per year.


Government employed physicians

DEA training and the DATA 2000 waiver is also open to physicians that work for the government. Basic guidelines remain the same: physicians must obtain DEA training, and an identification number, he or she must be licensed to practice in the state, and must be able to pass a background check from SAMHSA. If the physician did not previously acquire any registration number, the state offers one free of cost. This is offered even for physicians who are not licensed to practice in that particular state, but are licenced to practice elsewhere in the United States, including Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands. In order to acquire this registration number the physician will need to fill out an application that contains the physicians address and the name and contact information of a reference. This newly acquired waiver from the DEA can only be used while working for the government, and cannot be used in other facilities such as private practices. Physicians who work under a contract cannot apply under this category.