Qualify for Nurse Practitioners (NPs) and Physician Assistants (PAs) Waiver

Learn how nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) can train and apply to become DATA-waiver practitioners.

CARA Act

On July 22, 2016, President Obama signed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) into law as Public Law 114-198. One of CARA’s important provisions expands access to substance use treatment services and overdose reversal medications—including the full spectrum of services from prevention to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and recovery support—by extending the privilege of prescribing buprenorphine in office-based settings to qualifying nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) until Oct. 1, 2021.

Proposed Learning Objectives

CARA requires that NPs and PAs complete 24 hours of training to be eligible for a prescribing waiver. SAMHSA has created a list of recommended learning objectives for the trainings. While we cannot require that the organizations listed in the CARA Act use these learning objectives, we are sharing them with the stakeholders. Access the Proposed Learning Objectives for the NP and PA Waiver Training – 2017 (PDF | 196 KB).

Sign Up for Courses

NPs and PAs are required to obtain no fewer than 24 hours of initial training addressing each of the topics in 21 USC 823(g)(2)(G)(ii)(IV) provided by one of the following organizations: The American Society of Addiction Medicine, American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, American Medical Association, American Osteopathic Association, American Nurses Credentialing Center, American Psychiatric Association, American Association of Nurse Practitioners, American Academy of Physician Assistants, or any other organization that the Secretary of Health and Human Services determines is appropriate.

NPs and PAs may take both the eight-hour DATA-waiver course for treatment of opioid use disorder, designed by national experts, that physicians currently take, and the additional 16 hours course offered for free by SAMHSA through the Providers Clinical Support System.

NPs and PAs who have completed the required training and seek to become DATA-waiver for up to 30 patients will be able to apply to do so beginning in early 2017. For more information on the upcoming launch of the application and SAMHSA-sponsored training opportunities, sign up for the Buprenorphine Waiver Management email list.

Completing the Waiver NOI Form

NPs and PAs who have completed the 24 hours of required training may seek to obtain a DATA 2000 waiver for up to 30 patients by completing the Waiver Notification Form. Effective February 27, 2017, SAMHSA will only accept electronic submissions of the NOI.

NPs and PAs may send copies of their training certificates to infobuprenorphine@samhsa.hhs.gov or faxed them to 301-576-5237. These waiver applications are forwarded to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which will assign the NP or PA a special identification number. DEA regulations require this number to be included on all buprenorphine prescriptions for opioid dependency treatment, along with the NP’s or PA’s regular DEA registration number.

SAMHSA shall review waiver applications within 45 days of receipt. If approved, NPs and PAs will receive a letter via email that confirms their waiver and includes their prescribing identification number.

Last Updated: 05/15/2018