Suboxone can be prescribed in a number of ways and by a number of different individuals and clinics. However, there is also a large amount of specific regulation meant to restrict who can prescribe Suboxone and who cannot. As the drug has been shown to be an extremely effective medication for individuals going through opioid addiction treatment and attempting to end their dependence on opioids, it is important that patients in need of the drug have access to it through the proper, legal channels.
Can Suboxone Be Prescribed by a Doctor?
According to the National Drug Intelligence Center, “Buprenorphine is the only drug that can be prescribed in a physician’s office to treat opiate addiction.” This was a monumental breakthrough for the treatment of opioid addiction and dependence when the Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000 was passed by Congress to allow the prescription of buprenorphine-based drugs by doctors, and since Suboxone contains buprenorphine, it falls into this category. However, not just any doctor can prescribe the drug.
As stated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, “Only qualified doctors with the necessary DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) identification number are able to start in-office treatment and provide prescriptions for ongoing medication.” These physicians must fill out all the necessary paperwork, attend a training course that is specifically designed for this purpose, and submit their qualifications to SAMHSA, or the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, in order to become qualified to prescribe the medication. Physicians who qualify to prescribe Suboxone and other buprenorphine drugs must also:
- Agree to and follow through with referring their patients to drug addiction counseling so that the patients receive a more well-rounded treatment and recovery plan
- Use their specialized identification number given to them by the DEA on all prescriptions and official reports
- “Maintain a log of all patients using Subutex and Suboxone and record the medication that has been prescribed to them” (NDIC)
- Aid the DEA in reviewing these records periodically
- Prescribe Subutex and Suboxone to only a specific number of patients a year as determined by the DEA and the U.S. government
Physicians who are able to prescribe Suboxone and other buprenorphine drugs, including Subutex and Buprenex, must adhere to a number of important rules in order to minimize the possibility of abuse and diversion associated with the drug. However, the fact that certain physicians can prescribe the drug is extremely important and beneficial to many addicted individuals.
Why is the DATA 2000 So Important?
The Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000 allows patients to receive Suboxone and other buprenorphine-based medications from the offices of qualified and certified doctors, and this change has helped many addicted individuals create a better life for themselves during their recoveries. Overall, it provides patients with more convenient access to treatment, something that cannot be done with methadone to the same extent as it can be done with buprenorphine. It is much more convenient to be able to attend treatment in a doctor’s office than in a methadone clinic for many people, and this arrangement also has other benefits.
For example, “because patients can visit their local doctors, buprenorphine therapy is far more discreet, making it preferable for many patients who must deal with the stigma attached to making daily trips to a methadone clinic.” It also helps patients avoid the issue of having to travel long distances for treatment, as they are often more likely to find a physician locally who is qualified to prescribe Suboxone than a methadone clinic in the same area. Patients in rural areas often have to travel even farther to these clinics, and in some cases, there is a high waiting list for patients in need of methadone treatment, making Suboxone a more convenient option in many ways.
One of the most convenient aspects of patients being able to receive their Suboxone prescriptions through their doctors is that they are then able to fill the prescription and take the medication home to be administered there. “Buprenorphine can be prescribed by a local doctor and obtained from a local pharmacy,” giving patients who can handle administering their medication at home the option to do so, which allows them to avoid unnecessary travel and trips to the doctor. At first, physicians will often administer the medication in the office, but over time, many give their patients this more convenient option once the patient has proven that they are able to take the medication responsibly.
The ability for patients to be able to receive a Suboxone prescription from a local doctor’s office is convenient, but it also allows addiction patients to create a treatment situation where they see the same doctor consistently, and both doctor and patient are able to get to know each other on a more intimate level. This allows the physician to better determine the best treatment course for the patient and for the patient to feel comfortable enough with the doctor to discuss any issues, changes in treatment, specific needs, etc.
Can I Get Suboxone at a Treatment Center or a Clinic?
Yes, in some cases, you can receive Suboxone at a rehab center if the physicians there are qualified to administer it. However, many individuals prefer to take Suboxone because it can be administered and prescribed by a local physician, which allows patients to attend treatment in a more convenient and discreet way.
Where Can I Find a Physician Who Can Prescribe Suboxone?
SAMHSA provides a buprenorphine physician locator that can help you find doctors in your area who are qualified to prescribe Suboxone. The locator is organized by state and allows people like you to find local physicians who can prescribe the drug as well as administer it when necessary. On our site, you can also search through our directory for physicians, by state and then by city, who can prescribe the medication to you. In addition, you can call us today at 800-533-1341 (Who Answers?) to find out about doctors near you and how Suboxone can potentially help you recover from opioid addiction.