Thursday, December 29, 2011

Tennessee Proposes New Regulations Harmful to Patients, Quality Treatment and Best Practice

National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery
Press Release

Contact Persons:
Joycelyn Woods, Executive Director,
Roxanne Baker, President,
Phone/Fax: 212-595-NAMA

On December 19, 2011 the state of Tennessee is proposing new regulations for methadone. A hearing is scheduled for January 5, 2012 (State will accept written comments until January 19th).

Here are some of the proposed regulations:

The screening process: Patient must have two documented unsuccessful attempts at detoxification or drug-free treatment within a 24-hour period. (Page 14)

Dose: Doses greater than 100 milligrams of methadone requires written notification to the SOTA, greater than 120 milligrams need SOTA approval prior to administration and greater than 140 milligrams shall include a peak and trough test. (Page 21)

Take Home Medication: Patients on a monthly with 1 positive drug screen will be put on a weekly schedule for two weeks or more. (Page 24)
Administrative Discharge for Drug Use: A fourth positive drug test in 6 months will result in immediate discharge or ASW. (Page 26)

Central Registry: A propsed Central Registry with no comment on how confidentiality will be maintained or even where it will be stored. (Page 29)

It must also be noted that many new proposals in the new regulation are good treatment, however they appear cumbersome resulting in excessive paper work so counselors do not have quality time to see patients. There must be a better way to do it such as the federal government whose regulations are very basic while the treatment requirements are in the accreditation guidelines. This also allows the federal the make changes when necessary without approval from Congress. Like the first federal regulations the Tennessee proposed regulations are written with good intent but the result is likely not to be what was intended.

Tennessee Needs Our Help

Patients and residents of Tennessee that are family please follow the instructions in the attached Announcement. A copy of the legislators in the state Senate and Assembly is included. You should also send a copy to the Secretary of State and TN SOTA whose addresses are below.

Out of State Patients the Hearings scheduled for January 5, 2012 needs to have patients write their feelings and why some of these regulations hamper recovery rather than support it. You can send a letter to the following:


Tre Hargett
State Capitol
Nashville, TN 37243-1102
Phone: (615) 741-2819


Kurt Hippel, Esq.
Tennessee Department of Mental Health
Office of Licensure and Review
4255th Ave. North, 3rd Floor
Cordell Hill Building
Nashville, TN 37243

Jason Carter
Cordell Hull Bldg. 5th Floor
425 5th Ave. North
Nashville, TN 37243
Phone: (615) 532-6736
Fax: (615) 741-6602

Download Announcement
Download TN Senate Members
Download TN Assembly Members
Download Proposed TN Regulations

Download Press Release (PDF)

Revised: January 6, 2012

Governor LePage Believes Maine Should Stop Paying for Methadone Help Change His Mind

National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery
Press Release

Contact Persons:
Joycelyn Woods, Executive Director,
Roxanne Baker, President,
Phone/Fax: 212-595-NAMA

He Says:

Maine Care will pay for Methadone when most insurance carriers won't. Someone can go to the Discovery Center in Bangor. They can request an increase and receive it that day. They have no programs for decreasing or getting off methadone. They compare it to having Diabetes! On top of paying for methadone, they all get reimbursed for travel from PenCap! It is a legal drug dealer and we the tax payers are footing the bill!

We Have Heard It Before, Haven’t We?

During December many advocates primarily professionals have written letters to the governor. However, as you can see from his comments he has not been convinced and is obviously cynical about the information he has received. Usually NAMA Recovery does something similar but instead our letter voices the concerns of patients on behalf of the patients being affected, or in this case methadone patients in Maine. Our letter notes the same evidence and research about methadone that the advocates that are professionals use. Our new project Stop Stigma Now even included a DVD with the letter. But NAMA Recovery can do something different and perhaps better because we can tell the governor how methadone has changed our lives.

What Can We Do?

Instead of writing the usual letter we are asking patients to write a letter to the governor to tell him that methadone does work and that we are the proof!

And we can ask our professional friends to hand out this information to patients. Programs can help by telling patients.

See Attached Instructions
Download Press Release (PDF)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

NAMA-Recovery Demands Rescinding of Ban on Use of Federal Funds for Syringe Exchange

National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery
Press Release

Contact Persons:
Joycelyn Woods, Executive Director,
Roxanne Baker, President,
Phone/Fax: 212-595-NAMA

The National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery (NAMA-Recovery) demands an immediate reversal of the ban on use of federal funds for syringe exchange imposed in the omnibus spending bill. The FY 2012 omnibus, passed by both houses of Congress in December, reinstates a complete ban on use of federal funding for syringe exchange programs. This reversal of federal policy represents a huge step backward in the fight to eliminate hepatitis C and other blood-borne viruses, despite numerous studies demonstrating that access to sterile syringes reduces the incidence of HIV and viral hepatitis and is good public health policy benefiting communities across our nation.

Access to sterile syringes has been proven a cost effective and life saving measure. Syringe exchange programs also connect people who use drugs to constant and repeated contact with substance use treatment and medical care. For the two years since the lifting of the original ban, syringe exchange programs around the country have worked closely with local law enforcement and health officials to make syringe access a part of their communities’ HIV and viral hepatitis prevention strategies to great effect. This setback will result in nothing less than an avalanche of new infections and dramatic increases in medical costs at a time of great financial strain for individuals and governments.

NAMA-Recovery Executive Director Joycelyn Woods said “In this times when the cost of medical care is rising it is prudent and good public health policy to provide access to sterile syringes. Even more important are the lives including families and children that will be affected by these medieval attitudes.” Woods continued, “NAMA-Recovery will continue our support for syringe exchange and strategies needed to prevent a new infections among the next generation of injection drug users. We implore Congress and the Administration to reverse this policy.”

The National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery is an organization of patients, healthcare professionals, friends, and associates working together for greater public understanding and acceptance of the use of medication assisted treatment in the recovery from opioid addiction. NAMA-Recovery, founded in 1988, has Chapters throughout the United States and International Affiliates in 19 countries across the globe.