Apply for a Physician Waiver

Apply for a physician waiver to prescribe or dispense buprenorphine under the Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000 (DATA 2000).

To receive a waiver to practice opioid dependency treatment with approved buprenorphine medications, a physician must notify the SAMHSA Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) of their intent to practice this form of medication-assisted treatment (MAT). The notification of intent must be submitted to CSAT before the initial dispensing or prescribing of opioid treatment.

Completing the Waiver Notification Form

In order to complete the form, physicians can do the following:

The form contains all the data items necessary to expedite the timely processing of waiver notifications. The notification of intent must contain information on the physician’s qualifying credentials and additional certifications, including their capacity to refer patients for appropriate counseling and other services. It must also confirm that the physician will not have more than 30 patients at any one time for the first year, regardless of the number of practice locations. Physicians also must fax their training certificate after completing the waiver form to show that they have completed the required training to prescribe and dispense buprenorphine.

One year after the physician submits the initial notification, the physician can submit a second notification stating the need and intent to treat up to 100 patients. Learn how to apply to increase patient limits.

SAMHSA reviews applications within 45 days of receipt. Once the application process is complete and the application is approved, SAMHSA will email a letter that confirms the waiver and includes the physician’s prescribing identification number. If it has been more than 45 days since a physician has submitted an application or if a physician submitted an application and did not receive an acknowledgement of receipt, contact CSAT's Buprenorphine Information Center at 866-BUP-CSAT (866-287-2728) or send an email to infobuprenorphine@samhsa.hhs.gov.

Apply to Begin Treatment with Buprenorphine Immediately

To receive permission to provide treatment while a notification is under review, check the box "New Notification, with the intent to immediately facilitate treatment of an individual (one) patient" on the notification form. Checking the “immediate” box is only one of three requirements a physician must meet in order to start a patient on treatment, and immediate treatment is limited to one patient per form submitted. Each form must have a different submission date. Other requirements the applicant must address, include:

  • Meeting “in good faith” the criteria for obtaining a waiver such as having a valid medical license, valid Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registration, qualified, or completion of eight hours of qualifying training
  • Contacting CSAT's Buprenorphine Information Center at 866-BUP-CSAT (866-287-2728) to verify that the notification form has been received and to notify CSAT of the physician’s intent to begin treating one patient

Since the physician will not have a unique identifying number, pharmacists may question prescriptions received under this provision. Pharmacists may contact SAMHSA, if additional information is needed, at 866-BUP-CSAT (866-287-2728) or by sending an email to infobuprenorphine@samhsa.hhs.gov.

Last Updated: 02/09/2017