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Over the last two decades, the United States of America has experienced an increase in the deaths that result from opioid use disorder. For this reason, there was a need for the American congress to pass policies that would help the nation avert the impending national disaster. In October 2018, the American congress passed a new act that affected the country’s healthcare policies. Support for patients and communities act was passed in response to the opioid epidemic facing the United States of America. The show was developed in conjunction with other related actions to help address the problem of opioid addiction in the United States of America. Drug Addiction Act of 2000 provides a waiver for physicians prescribing drugs that manage opioid use disorder. Before passing the Support for patients and communities act, physicians were supposed to undergo an eight-hour training to be given the waiver to prescribe drugs such as buprenorphine. The Support for Patients and communities act allows graduate physicians to prescribe buprenorphine without restrictions (Shapiro et al., 2019).

One of the policy’s impacts on healthcare is that it provides for improved accessibility to evidence-based addiction treatment. Before the policy was enacted, it was hard for the opioid addicts in the United States of America to access treatment. Healthcare programs such as Medicare and Medicaid have expanded their services to ensure that opioid addicts access treatment plans. Such has made it easy for the American healthcare system to meet its target of improving healthcare access for all Americans (Incze et al., 2021).

Another way that the policy has impacted the American healthcare system is by expanding workforce opportunities. Healthcare facilities depend on other facilities to achieve the overall goal of achieving health among the patients. When the policy was passed, it raised the possibilities for healthcare support by increasing the recovery community centers. Opioid use disorder is an addiction that cannot be healed with a short-term treatment plan—the policy allowed for the building of community centers where opioid-addicted Americans can be treated until they recover. The community centers are essential to decongest the American healthcare facilities while supporting the overall goal of a healthy country. Patients recovering from Opioid addiction are housed in community centers while they undergo treatment before they are allowed to rejoin their respective communities (Jones & McCance-Katz, 2018).

The policy has been applied in healthcare practice by allowing for a capacity increase in emergency overdose response. Before the act was signed into law, many Americans died from an opioid overdose since physicians could not prescribe buprenorphine without mandatory training. Once the policy was enacted, it allowed physicians to prescribe buprenorphine to opioid overdose patients, which has helped the American healthcare system reduce the number of deaths resulting from an opioid overdose. Such has improved healthcare quality since physicians have been given a greater capacity to save a life, which is their primary duty in healthcare facilities (Donroe et al., 2018).

Also, the policy has allowed an increase in the operating capacity of healthcare professionals. Today, not only physicians are allowed to prescribe buprenorphine but also registered nurses. This goal is to increase the number of healthcare professionals who can prescribe the medication in different parts of the country and help save the lives of Americans who might suffer from Opioid Use Disorder (Davis, 2019).

In conclusion, enacting the Support for patients and communities act was a great move by the American congress to reduce deaths caused by Opioid Use Disorder. The policy impacts healthcare since it improves accessibility to evidence-based addiction treatment and expands workforce opportunities. Community support centers have helped the healthcare system manage Opioid Use Disorder patients. The policy has been integrated into the healthcare system by allowing physicians and registered nurses to prescribe buprenorphine.


Davis, C. S. (2019). The support for patients and Communities Act — What will it mean for the opioid-overdose crisis? New England Journal of Medicine, 380(1), 3-5.

Donroe, J. H., Socias, M. E., & Marshall, B. D. (2018). The deepening opioid crisis in North America: Historical context and current solutions. Current Addiction Reports, 5(4), 454-463.

Incze, M. A., Kelley, A. T., & Gordon, A. J. (2021). Improving opioid use disorder treatment through quality assessment. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 36(9), 2820-2822.

Jones, C. M., & McCance-Katz, E. F. (2018). Characteristics and prescribing practices of clinicians recently waivered to prescribe buprenorphine for the treatment of opioid use disorder. Addiction, 114(3), 471-482.

Shapiro, A., Villarroel, L. R., & George, P. (2019). A call to maximize the impact of the support for patients and Communities Act through standard inclusion of opioid use disorder treatment curricula in medical schools. Advances in Medical Education and Practice, 10, 581-583.

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