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DATA (Drug Addiction Treatment Act)

In 2000, (DATA) was passed by the Senate and it was sponsored by many leading Senators including the former Vice-President Joe Bidden. This legislation was aimed at the limiting the apparently inexorable rise in the in the number of opioid addicts and to change the way that the USA manages and treats addicts.

Under the terms of the Act doctors who met certain criteria can treat opioid addicts with addiction therapies. Only those doctors who are able to meet the standards that are set out by the American Society of Addiction Medicine, American Board of Medical Specialties, or American Osteopathic are allowed to treat opiate addicts.

Before DATA doctors could only manage for at most 30 opioid addicts in their practices. There was a problem as the laws then existing did not differentiate between an individual doctor and a group of doctors in a practice. This resulted in a situation where some practices had many Suboxone doctors but could still only treat 30 addicts. This was seen as very inefficient and the medical professional lobbied for a change to the law. After DATA doctors are now allowed to treat 30 patients each with medications such as Suboxone.

DATA authorized doctors to treat up to 100 addicts, if they applied to treat such a number and if they have the required qualifications. The DATA legislation provides waivers to doctors from specific registration stipulations in the Controlled Substances Act. This allows them to treat those addicted to an opiate such as heroin with narcotics such as Suboxone in a more flexible way.

These medications are powerful and often contain opioids and they are listed on the Schedule as 3(III), 4(IV), or 5(V) narcotics.

Two years after DATA was passed, The FDA approved Suboxone and Buprenorphine as medications for the treatment of opioid addiction. Since the passage of DATA, the ability of physicians to treat those with an opioid addiction has been much improved. Today Suboxone doctors can treat more addicts in a safe environment ever than before and this has helped many addicted to heroin and prescription painkillers on the road to recovery.

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