Doctors Can’t Provide ‘Critical’ Anti-Opioid Drug During Shutdown: Sen. Schumer

The government shutdown is preventing doctors from providing patients with a “critical” medication in the fight against opioid addiction, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said Sunday, according to the New York Daily News. “Simply put, the DEA, in many ways, holds the keys to accessing critical anti-opioid treatment drugs that New York City and Long Island patients and doctors need to combat this deadly scourge,” Schumer was quoted as saying in a statement. “And so we need them fully open and running to put those keys back into the hands of the New York doctors who save lives, and the patients who are fighting to get better.” One of the drugs he was referring to is the anti-opioid drug Buprenorphine. If doctors wish to prescribe Buprenorphine, the Daily News notes, they must obtain permission from the DEA—which has been crippled since the shutdown began on Dec. 22. Schumer reportedly said that doctors have had difficulty contacting the agency and completing the necessary bureaucratic steps to provide the medication to patients. It remains unclear when the shutdown, which is now the longest in history, will end.