Allow Nurse Practitioners to Help Struggling Addicts

Target: Lamar Alexander, Tennessee Senator

Goal: Let nurse practitioners prescribe drug that helps heroin addicts recover.

The opioid epidemic is killing more and more people every day. The drug buprenorphine was developed specifically to help addicts seeking treatment, but in some areas of the country it can be difficult to find medical professionals authorized to prescribe it. Medical care can be difficult enough to find and to afford for the average person, let alone someone struggling with a powerful and expensive addiction. Nurse practitioners have advanced degrees and medical training, and their services are usually much more affordable than a traditional doctor. These professionals would be particularly well-suited to treat opioid addiction, yet they’re prohibited in several states from doing so.

Heroin and similar drugs are notoriously hard to get off of, leading to the development of detoxification medications. These prescription drugs help addicts stop using heroin and other drugs in several different ways. Some relieve the cravings for the drug, and some dampen the effects of opioid drugs so users will not feel the high they’re seeking. Buprenorphine is one of these drugs, developed to help people stop using harmful substances and to get their lives back in order. Sign this petition to expand the availability of this necessary medication by allowing nurse practitioners to prescribe this life-saving medication.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Senator Alexander,

As you must know, Tennessee has had a large increase in death rates for heroin overdoses in the past decade. One way to combat this alarming trend is to allow nurse practitioners to prescribe buprenorphine, a life-saving medication used to help struggling addicts get off of heroin. Currently, they are not allowed to and this is a missed opportunity. It’s not uncommon for people to see a nurse practitioner for their primary care, and it can be much easier to deal with stigmatized issues with just one person, rather than having to see a whole team of medical professionals for each different health issue. Seeing a nurse practitioner is also usually cheaper than seeing a medical doctor, a fact which can’t be overlooked when discussing addicts who are usually low-income.

Heroin is known for being very addictive and extremely hard to quit using. If someone is genuinely trying to get help for their issues, that help should be made accessible. Accessibility is a real problem, since so few doctors have sought the specific prescriptive authority to treat patients with buprenorphine. If the guidelines were expanded to include other medical professionals, it would take some of the burden off of the few doctors treating addicts. Please allow nurse practitioners to prescribe buprenorphine.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Eric Morris

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One Comment

  1. Gen Lovyet Agustsson says:

    i mean no more heroin.

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