On Oct. 24, the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recover and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act (H.R. 6) was signed into law by President Donald Trump. SUPPORT emphasizes the critical role of nurses in solving the opioid crisis. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants are enabled to prescribe buprenorphine permanently with a medication-assisted treatment (MAT) waiver. This MAT prescribing authority has also been extended to other advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) specialists including certified nurse-midwives, clinical nurse specialists and certified registered nurse anesthetists for five years. SUPPORT will also provide up to $250,000 in student loan relief to individuals who pursue substance use disorder treatment professions in underserved areas.
The current opioid crisis requires urgency to save the lives of those impacted by it. The American Nurses Association and WSNA would like to extend our thanks to the professional nursing organizations and congressional leaders that worked to pass SUPPORT in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. We recognize the nurses’ role in addressing the crisis and believe that nurses are crucial in identifying and solving public health crises. Empowering and authorizing nurses to practice to their full extent opens doors to access to lifesaving treatment and solutions.