Bupe for Addicted Physicians

12/15/2016

I have treated hundreds of opiate addicts with buprenorphine since 2003, and have never seen any evidence of impairment, yet I am not aware of any state licensing board or physician health program that allows physicians to continue practice of medicine while on maintenance.

I believe this policy increases risk to patients by discouraging afflicted physicians from seeking treatment for fear that the prescriber will report them as impaired or force them to stop bupe. Physicians evaluating them probably believe that state laws mandate reporting to the health program or licensing board.

Absent clear evidence of impairment associated with bupe maintenance I encourage licensing boards and physician health programs to allow continued practice while using buprenorphine indefinitely.

Furthermore, providers of bupe maintenance should not have to report compliant physicians  provided they see no other evidence of impairment.

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