Federal Ban on Methadone Vans Seen as Barrier to Treatment
The drug treatment program in Baltimore, the Institutes for Behavior Resources, operated a DEA-licensed van and a backup van to dispense methadone to hundreds of patients for about 10 years, and then purchased new vans and used them for another 10 years before parking the vehicles and letting their licenses expire.
Two years ago, Behavior Resources leased one of those vans to another nonprofit program, the Behavioral Health Leadership Institute, which is using the vehicle to provide buprenorphine instead of methadone. Although the DEA also has authority over buprenorphine, it has not banned licensed prescribers of the medication from working out of a van.
Equipped with a bathroom and private counseling rooms, the van allows Behavioral Health Leadership to offer low-income residents drug screenings, addiction assessments, counseling and pre-paid prescriptions for buprenorphine.