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Methadose tablets, the concentrated form of methadone. Photo: Whitney Hayward/Portland Portland Press Herald/Getty Images

As the opioid epidemic rages on, methadone — 1 of 3 approved medications to treat opioid use disorder — can be hard to come by, according to a new article in Health Affairs.

Why it matters: Although it's effective, it's heavily regulated and can only be obtained at opioid treatment programs. These are subject to strict federal, state and even local rules. But many communities don't have enough treatment programs to meet the demand for them.

Details: Methadone could be made more available in primary care settings, which would increase treatment capacity, the paper argues.

  • The Drug Enforcement Administration could also regulate mobile methadone vans, which have been used in several states to reach patients who can't travel to a treatment program.
  • States could encourage the use of "medication units," which are associated with a treatment program but provide off-site medication at places more convenient for patients.
  • States could also loosen restrictions on the number of treatment programs or the services they offer.

Go deeper: The first big opioids verdict is both big and small

Go deeper

Trump grants flurry of last-minute pardons

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty

President Trump issued 73 pardons and commuted the sentences of 70 individuals early Wednesday, 11 hours from leaving office.

Why it matters: It's a last-minute gift to some of the president's loyalists and an evident use of executive power with only hours left of his presidency. Axios reported in December that Trump planned to grant pardons to "every person who ever talked to me."

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump revokes ethics order barring former aides from lobbying

Photo: Spencer Platt via Getty

Shortly after pardoning members of Congress and lobbyists convicted on corruption charges, President Trump revoked an executive order barring former officials from lobbying for five years after leaving his administration.

Why it matters: The order, which was signed eight days after he took office, was an attempt to fulfill his campaign promise to "drain the swamp."

  • But with less than 12 hours left in office, Trump has now removed those limitations on his own aides.

Trump pardons former GOP fundraiser Elliott Broidy

President Trump has pardoned Elliott Broidy, a former top Republican fundraiser who pleaded guilty late last year to conspiring to violate foreign lobbying laws as part of a campaign to sway the administration on behalf of Chinese and Malaysian interests.

Why it matters: Broidy was a deputy finance chair for the Republican National Committee early in Trump’s presidency, and attempted to leverage his influence in the Trump administration on behalf of his clients. The president's decision to pardon Broidy represents one last favor for a prominent political ally.