A new UT Health San Antonio program will make addiction-treatment drugs such as buprenorphine available statewide, regardless of patients' ability to pay.
UT Health San Antonio has landed $7.2 million in state funding to oversee a statewide program to treat opioid addiction that will provide "compassionate, evidence-based" care regardless of patients’ ability to pay.
Much of the funding will be spent to cover the cost of medicine for patients unable to afford treatment. The initiative will also manage a network of trained health providers and train doctors how to offer evidence-based treatment.
"We are proud to be leading this movement to change how opioid use disorder is treated in Texas, because we believe all people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect as they navigate treatment options,” said Dr. Jennifer Sharpe Potter, a psychiatry professor who will head the program, called Texas Medication for Opioid Use Disorder
, or TxMOUD.
TxMOUD is one of a growing number of initiatives nationwide that look to treat addiction as a medical condition rather than a criminal justice issue or a moral failing.
The new program builds on Potter's existing GetWaivered Texas, an effort to train medical providers
so they can prescribe buprenorphine, a highly effective drug for helping former opiate users control withdrawal symptoms and return to normal life.
However, availability of buprenorphine has been limited by federal law which requires extensive training before physicians can prescribe the drug. Since GetWaivered began last March, the program has trained nearly 700 doctors.
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