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Medications for medical assisted treatment of addiction become harder to get

Methadone and buprenorphine are both used to help those addicted to opioids combat addiction with medicine.

Buprenorphine comes in different forms including a tablet or dissolvable film to give patients the appropriate amount needed. The doses are not one-size-fits-all and must be tailored for the individual so they don’t get too much or not enough.

Medicaid is making it difficult though.

Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

Of the five buprenorphine medications available, only two are considered preferred by Medicaid, making the remaining three require prior authorization.

In 2019 two bills were passed by the legislature and sought the signature of former Governor Andrew Cuomo. One bill made it so those with private insurance did not need a prior authorization for any buprenorphine prescribed by their doctor.

The second did the same for Medicaid recipients, but Cuomo did not sign that one, due to money issues.

On October 1 this year the formula for generic buprenorphine was changed, making it so many Medicaid patients already on it no longer qualified.

Taking away medication like this that works for someone could push them to use drugs off the street and overdose. Overdose deaths increased throughout the pandemic.

There are also limits for doctors on how many people they can prescribe buprenorphine at one time, but that isn’t a rule for any other medication, or opiates.

Governor Kathy Hochul has made her stance on the opioid epidemic clear, and has continued to sign bills and find new ways to address the situation.