Monday, August 21, 2023

US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) consultations on prescribing controlled substances by Telehealth.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition  opposes the dangerous practice of assisted suicide by telehealth.

The US Drug Enforcement Administration continues the consultation on their proposed rules for prescribing controlled substances via telehealth. Listening sessions have been organized by the DEA for September 12 & 13, 2023 to hear all issues and concerns related to requiring an in-person visit before a physician can prescribe Schedule II controlled substances.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) began their consultation on February 24, 2023 on the proposed rules for prescribing controlled substances via telehealth. The proposed rule states that when a person has not seen a medical practitioner and requires a prescription for Schedule II medications or narcotics, the prescription cannot be made via telehealth and the patient will be required to see a medical practitioner in person before receiving the prescription.

The proposed rules are important. The assisted suicide lobby wants to approve assisted suicide drug cocktail prescriptions without directly meeting with or examining the person. They also want to have the lethal drug cocktail sent to the person by courier.

Kristen Senz reported for The Journalists Resource on April 17 that the DEA approved the new guidelines and that it will go into effect on May 1.

The proposed DEA rules states that Schedule II controlled substances will require an in-person visit. Patients being treated for opioid use disorder can be prescribed via telemedicine but they will be required to have an in-person visit within 30 days of receiving a prescription for buprenorphine (Suboxone, Zubsolv, and Sublocade) via telemedicine, to obtain refills.

But the story doesn't end there. 

Based on a massive response by the US assisted suicide lobby the DEA placed their guidelines on hold for six months. The assisted suicide lobby emphasized the need for emergency prescriptions for pain medications needed for palliative care.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition opposes the dangerous practice of assisted suicide by telehealth and supports the DEA proposed guidelines that were approved in April.

If the DEA decides to compromise their position, they should state that it is dangerous and unethical to prescribe assisted suicide drug cocktails by telehealth.

The DEA rules are based on reducing the opioid crisis to make it more difficult for people to obtain Schedule II controlled substances for resale. 

Previous articles:

  • The US Drug Administration tightens regulations on Schedule II Controlled Substances (Link). 
  • Help EPC stop assisted suicide by Telehealth (Link).

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