On Oct. 24, the Substance Use-Disorder Preven­tion that Promotes Opioid Recover and Treat­ment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Commu­ni­ties Act (H.R. 6) was signed into law by Presi­dent Donald Trump. SUPPORT empha­sizes the critical role of nurses in solving the opioid crisis. Nurse practi­tioners and physi­cian assis­tants are enabled to prescribe buprenor­phine perma­nently with a medica­tion-assisted treat­ment (MAT) waiver. This MAT prescribing authority has also been extended to other advanced practice regis­tered nurse (APRN) special­ists including certi­fied nurse-midwives, clinical nurse special­ists and certi­fied regis­tered nurse anesthetists for five years. SUPPORT will also provide up to $250,000 in student loan relief to individ­uals who pursue substance use disorder treat­ment profes­sions in under­served areas.

The current opioid crisis requires urgency to save the lives of those impacted by it. The American Nurses Associ­a­tion and WSNA would like to extend our thanks to the profes­sional nursing organi­za­tions and congres­sional leaders that worked to pass SUPPORT in both the U.S. House of Repre­sen­ta­tives and the U.S. Senate. We recog­nize the nurses’ role in addressing the crisis and believe that nurses are crucial in identi­fying and solving public health crises. Empow­ering and autho­rizing nurses to practice to their full extent opens doors to access to lifesaving treat­ment and solutions.