The Defense Department’s healthcare plan will cover the opioid addiction medications buprenorphine and methadone starting next month, according to the Air Force Times.
Until now the plan, Tricare, has covered the medications only for short-term, intense detoxification or pain management, the article notes.
“Medication-assisted treatment, to include drug maintenance involving substitution of a therapeutic drug with addiction potential, for a drug of addiction, is now generally accepted … and thus appropriate for inclusion as a component in the Tricare-authorized substance use disorder treatment,” according to the new rule, published in the Federal Register.
In a 2012 report, the Institute of Medicine urged the Pentagon to change its restrictions on opioid addiction treatment. Substance abuse among members of the U.S. military and their families has become a public health crisis, according to the report. The Defense Department’s approaches to preventing and treating substance abuse are outdated, the report stated. It found the rate of prescription drug abuse is on the rise.