Despite the federal government making it easier for doctors to prescribe a medication used to treat opioid use disorder, new research finds minimal change in the number of people actually taking buprenorphine.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found a 27% increase in the number of prescribers at the end of 2023 compared to 2022. However, the number of people filling prescriptions only increased by 2%.

Buprenorphine is an FDA-approved medication that normalizes brain function and treats opioid dependence.

As Emily’s Hope previously reported, Congress eliminated the “X-waiver” in 2023. Before that, doctors who wanted to prescribe buprenorphine had to complete an 8 to 24-hour training and keep special records. The Drug Enforcement Administration also assigned those clinicians a registration number starting with an X. Many doctors claim this “X-waiver” made them a target for drug enforcement audits, according to NPR.

You can find doctors who prescribe buprenorphine here.