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WASHINGTON — A federal proposal to impose new restrictions on a key addiction-treatment medication has caused an uproar in certain segments of the medical community. But health secretary Xavier Becerra seems to be on board.

The new Drug Enforcement Administration proposal would require that patients receive an in-person examination before obtaining refills of buprenorphine, a key drug used to treat opioid use disorder. When a public emergency was declared in response to Covid-19, patients were allowed to obtain buprenorphine via telemedicine or via an in-person visit.


In the wake of the DEA’s proposal, leading addiction doctors have warned that limiting access to the drug could make the opioid crisis even worse. Becerra, however, said the new proposal strikes an appropriate balance between safety and access.

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