Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos has introduced legislation aimed at increasing access to treatment for those suffering from opioid addiction in rural areas.
Bustos says only 55-percent of rural counties have substance use disorder treatment facilities. She says that makes access to telemedicine vital in combating the opioid epidemic. However, current federal law prohibits a medical practitioner from dispensing controlled substances through the internet without first evaluating the patient in-person. The Special Registration for Telemedicine Clarification Act instructs the Attorney General to take the necessary steps to allow for the prescription of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and other controlled substances via telemedicine. Specifically, Bustos says the bill will lead to the implementation of a special registration process for physicians to prescribe such treatment, helping connect patients with the treatment they need without risking important safeguards to prevent misuse.