Medication Treatment Opioid Use Disorder

Boards of pharmacy play an important role in protecting the public health from the ongoing opioid crisis. Additionally, pharmacists’ accessibility and their status as trusted health care providers uniquely position them to treat patients with opioid use disorder (OUD). At NABP we seek to do our part by helping to eliminate the political barriers to expanding pharmacists’ role as providers of MAT services.

About Medication Treatment for OUD

A combination of behavioral counseling and the use of certain prescription medications, medication treatment is commonly used for OUD. This treatment uses prescription medications both in the initial detoxification and the long-term follow-up to suppress withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings. The medications are intended to help patients re-establish normal brain function and prevent relapse along with behavioral therapy.

Unfortunately, not all OUD patients have access to treatment due to barriers including the social stigma, cost, and lack of education.

The federal government has prioritized expanding access to medication treatment for OUD as an important element in reducing overdoses and health complications due to withdrawal. The MAT Act, passed in 2022, eliminates the waiver requirement to prescribe buprenorphine, a common drug used to treat OUD. Effective in June of 2023, the MATE Act requires prescribers of controlled substances to complete an 8-hour substance use disorder training upon renewing or receiving their DEA license. Both of these acts help to reduce stigma in treating OUD and create wider access to medication treatment for OUD.

Our Commitment to OUD Treatment

This initiative builds on the efforts of the state boards of pharmacy to combat the opioid crisis over the past decade. NABP supports board efforts through such projects as  PMP InterConnect, an interstate prescription monitoring data resource, and, a consumer-focused website highlighting safe medication practices.

Increasing awareness and speaking out about the opioid epidemic are crucial steps to furthering the medication treatment initiative and reducing OUDs.

Medication for OUD Resources



Public Comment Period Open Until May 31
In collaboration with University of Houston College of Pharmacy and the National Community Pharmacists Association, NABP is developing a guideline to advance pharmacists’ willingness to dispense buprenorphine for the treatment of OUD. Comments are being accepted until May 31. Read the draft Buprenorphine Guidelines to learn more.

Former NABP President Fensky Aims to Further the OUD Initiative

2020-2021 NABP President Timothy D. Fensky, RPh, DPh, FACA, focused his presidential initiative on 3 key areas in support of medication for OUD:

  1. worked with other organizations and met with leaders in Congress to encourage passage of legislation, including the MAT Act, to remove federal barriers to accessing medication for OUD and allow states to recognize pharmacists as medication treatment providers for patients with OUD;
  2. implemented recommended changes to applicable language found in The Model State Pharmacy Act and Model Rules of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (Model Act) after it was reviewed by NABP member; and
  3. held a task force to review strategies to drive change on this issue.