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Military Will Allow|Methadone to Treat Addicts

WASHINGTON (CN) - The U.S. military's insurance provider will be allowed to use methadone to treat heroin addiction in long-term drug treatment under new regulations proposed by the Defense Department.

Currently, the insurer, Tricare, will authorize prescriptions of substitute opiates only for short-term detoxification of addicts and forbids coverage for drugs that would "support or maintain an existing or potential drug abuse situation."

But the Pentagon said this week that that prohibition "is outdated and fails to recognize the accumulated medical evidence supporting certain maintenance programs as one component of the continuum of care necessary for the effective treatment of substance dependence."

The new rules would apply to all addictive substitute drugs used as part of a medically supervised drug abuse maintenance program.

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