Nurses Expand Access to Needed Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder with Complimentary MAT Waiver Training

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A free training for Advanced Practice Nurses, jointly provided by the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA), expands access to medication assisted treatment for persons with opioid use disorder.

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Empowering APRNs to prescribe medication for the treatment of opioid use disorders will expand access to this much needed treatment across the country.

The American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA), in partnership with the Providers’ Clinical Support System for Medication Assisted Treatment (PCSS-MAT), is now offering continuing nursing education which will help expand patients’ access to treatment for opioid use disorders. Two free online courses, 24 hours in total, meet the educational requirements for Advanced Practice Nurses to obtain waivers to prescribe medication assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid disorders. By completing this training and obtaining waivers, APRNs will be able to provide treatment desperately needed in communities across the country.

Under the 2016 Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) APRNs are now eligible to obtain a MAT waiver after completing 24 hours of approved coursework. All healthcare providers must obtain MAT waivers from the Drug Enforcement Agency in order to prescribe buprenorphine, one of three FDA-approved medications for treating opioid use disorders. This continuing nursing education is offered free of charge through funding by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

“Nurses can and do play a critical role in turning the tide of the opioid epidemic,” says Matthew Tierney, PMHNP-BC, ANP-BC, Chair of the APNA Addictions Council. “Empowering APRNs to prescribe medication for the treatment of opioid use disorders will expand access to this much needed treatment across the country. This free training supports nurses and removes barriers to treatment for our patients.”

The training is available in two parts: an 8-hour training and a 16-hour training. Both are eligible for continuing nursing contact hours, 21 of which are in pharmacology. Upon completion of the training, nurses will receive instructions on how to apply for their DEA MAT waiver. For more information about the APNA and PCSS-MAT waiver training, visit

The American Psychiatric Nurses Association is a national professional membership organization committed to the specialty practice of psychiatric-mental health nursing and wellness promotion, prevention of mental health problems and the care and treatment of persons with psychiatric disorders. APNA’s membership is inclusive of all psychiatric-mental health registered nurses including associate degree, baccalaureate, advanced practice (comprised of clinical nurse specialists and psychiatric nurse practitioners), and nurse scientists and academicians (PhD). APNA serves as a resource for psychiatric mental health nurses to engage in networking, education, and the dissemination of research.

The American Psychiatric Nurses Association is accredited with distinction as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.

PCSS-MAT is a national training and mentoring project developed in response to the prescription opioid use disorder epidemic and the availability of FDA-approved pharmacotherapies to address opioid use disorder. The overarching goal of PCSS-MAT is to make available the most effective medication-assisted treatments to serve patients in a variety of settings, including primary care, psychiatric care, substance use disorder treatment, and pain management settings.

Support for the Program: Funding for this initiative was made possible (in part) by Providers' Clinical Support System for Medication Assisted Treatment (grant no. 1U79TI026556) from SAMHSA. The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

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Meaghan Trimyer
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