What is the emergency Suboxone procedure if I forgot my Suboxone prescription on vacation?
One of the great benefits of Suboxone treatment over methadone maintenance is that you are able to travel and go on vacations. While people who have never had to face the challenge of opioid addiction do not understand, medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder can really get in the way of vacation planning.
For patients who go to the methadone maintenance clinic, they must go every single morning to get their daily methadone dose. Methadone maintenance makes it almost impossible to go on vacation, unless you carefully plan to attend a local methadone clinic nearby where you are vacationing.
With Suboxone, or similar medications, such as ZubSolv, Bunavail, or Subutex, the vacation planning is much easier. Suboxone doctors are usually willing to prescribe treatment medication for up to a month at a time.
So, vacationing while taking Suboxone is simply a matter of planning the trip to be between doctor appointments and bringing along your medication. Most often, this plan works without any problems.
Unfortunately, accidents do happen. In the rush to leave and make your plane, you might forget to bring along your Suboxone. While you are sitting down in your seat on the airplane, your Suboxone may be safely put away at home and not in your carry-on.
It is true that people forget their medication at home while vacationing all the time. They forget their diabetes or blood pressure pills and discover their mistake when they arrive at their destination.
Usually, the solution to such a problem is to visit the local urgent care or walk-in medical center. Local doctors are happy to help and replace your important medications.
Yet, with Suboxone, and similar buprenorphine-based medications, the situation is different. Many doctors are either unable or unwilling to prescribe Suboxone.
Prescribing addiction medications that contain the mixed opioid partial agonist/antagonist, buprenorphine, requires a special certification. Even doctors who have this certification are often unwilling to prescribe the medications to many patients.
Fortunately, there are ways to address the problem of a lost, stolen, or forgotten Suboxone while away on vacation. The key is to know where to go and what to say.
I need a Suboxone doctor now because I forgot my meds at home. Who should I call first?
The first call you should make if you discover you do not have your Suboxone with you on an extended vacation is to your Suboxone doctor back home. Contact your doctor right away and let them know what happened.
Surprisingly, your regular buprenorphine doctor may be able to help with little difficulty. It may seem like prescribing Suboxone across state lines is not possible, yet, in many cases it can be done.
Some states, New York for example, do have more strict regulations regarding prescriptions for controlled meds coming in from out of state. New York limits these prescriptions to a five-day supply. In fact, before electronic prescribing, the pharmacist had to ask the out-of-state doctor to send an original written prescription in the mail after calling the prescription in.
Other states are not as strict about Suboxone prescriptions coming from out-of-state doctors. So, if you forgot your prescription on vacation, you may be in luck with a simple phone call.
One issue that might come up is your doctor’s willingness to call in the prescription to another state. Suboxone doctors are often wary of unusual requests, and they are also often unwilling to do anything outside their familiar routine.
Even if you are a long-established patient with a history of following all the Suboxone treatment protocols that your doctor requires, you might find that the distrust issue that often exists between addiction treatment doctors and their recovering patients is a problem.
Sometimes this distrust, which may not even be from the doctor, but from office staff who answer the phones, can seem to be unreasonable. While there is the issue of preventing diversion of a controlled drug, such as Suboxone, doctors and their office staff should take into account who they are speaking with.
If you are a professional with a career that depends on you remaining drug-free, or if you are a business owner and entrepreneur, and you are stable on Suboxone therapy, you are probably not thinking about getting a few extra Suboxone film strips to sell on the side.
It can be frustrating when your doctor seems to group you in with people who have issues with crossing legal boundaries. As you are aware, when a person takes Suboxone, they are able to function as if they were never addicted to opioids.
Addiction-related behavior goes away during treatment with Suboxone. The last thing on your mind is trying to score a supply of seven or fourteen Suboxone strips to go drug dealing on your family vacation. Unfortunately, a Suboxone secretary at your doctor’s office might not see how ridiculous this scenario really is.
Can online suboxone doctors help me if I lost my Suboxone prescription?
In recent years, there has been a trend for top tech entrepreneurs to get into the addiction treatment business. They see an incredible opportunity, especially in these times of COVID-19, where government regulations on Suboxone telemedicine have been relaxed.
Trendy and sophisticated websites for online Suboxone treatment are popping up everywhere, along with news stories about tech multimillionaires raising millions in venture capital funding. They see addiction telemedicine as an untapped goldmine.
This is not necessarily a bad thing. In many underserved areas, patients cannot easily find an available Suboxone doctor. Local clinics are filled, without available spaces. Or, the clinics are too far away to get to on a regular basis.
These new online Suboxone services are a welcome addition to make medication-assisted treatment for opioid dependence more available to everyone who needs it. You simply register online, and you are quickly paired with a qualified doctor for a video conference call.
Suboxone telemedicine services make treatment for opioid addiction easier than ever. There is no need to leave your home to visit with your doctor. You do not have to wait in a busy waiting room with other people lined up to see the Suboxone doctor.
Yet, the fast-food model of same-day, drive-thru, Suboxone therapy with an online telemedicine doctor does have its limits. With a large, tech-driven medical practice, you are likely to be paired with different doctors for each visit. Medical visits are brief, with little opportunity for your doctor to get to know you.
Asking for special attention in a large online Suboxone practice is sort of like asking your McDonald’s attendant to make your burger well-done, with a bit of pink in the middle. Unfortunately, on the assembly-line of modern medicine, individual needs often cannot be met.
As long as medical treatment is administered by business people who are more focused on profits and returns than individual patients, you are at risk for being left out in the cold when you have an issue such as a lost Suboxone prescription while on vacation. If this happens, who can you call or where can you go next?
Does the hospital emergency department handle emergency Suboxone issues?
What happens if you go to the ER and tell the doctor you are on vacation and forgot or lost your Suboxone? It turns out that emergency physicians are allowed to prescribe Suboxone for several days, even if they are not registered to prescribe Suboxone.
Unfortunately, even though ER docs are allowed to give you an emergency Suboxone prescription, they will often refuse to do so. An ER doctor’s primary concern is to discharge you from the ER in stable condition. Since the withdrawal symptoms that result from not having your Suboxone are typically not dangerous, the ER doctor will likely send you home with a recommendation to visit a local Suboxone clinic.
How do I find local Suboxone doctors while on vacation who can help me?
If you have already tried calling your Suboxone doctor back home, and you have tried the ER, the next step is to find a local doctor or clinic who can help. In order to find a Suboxone doctor, you can search with Google, or use a convenient treatment locator, such as Treatment Match, or the SAMHSA website.
One issue that may come up when calling local doctors is that the Suboxone programs in the area may be unwilling to accept an out-of-state patient. Because of the pill mill crisis of a decade ago, doctors and lawmakers are concerned about another crisis that involves patients crossing state lines to get access to controlled medications.
Much of these fears are unfounded. Suboxone is not like other opioids, such as oxycodone, Oxycontin, or Dilaudid. There is no thriving black market for Suboxone. No matter who widespread Suboxone prescribing becomes, there will be no second wave of pill mills fueled by rogue doctors prescribing Suboxone.
Yet, the stigma of addiction is hard for people to overcome. Doctors and their staff are set in their ways. When they see an out-of-state drivers license, they go on high alert.
It does not help that many local Suboxone doctors are also pain management doctors. Pain doctors who prescribe Suboxone will usually treat all of their patients with the same suspicious protocol, regardless of individual differences from one patient to another.
Again, the Suboxone patient who is stable in their treatment, travelling on vacation with their spouse and children is a very different person from the man who marches in with an x-ray film in hand, demanding a bottle of oxy’s for a kidney stone. There is no need to treat every patient with the same level of scrutiny and distrust.
I need a Suboxone doctor now so my vacation isn’t ruined!
Maybe you put your trust in the airline luggage system and checked in a suitcase with your prescription bottles inside. Now, your suitcase is lost. What happens now?
Imagine you have traveled across the country to enjoy a week-long vacation with your family. Everything has been going great for months now since you started taking Suboxone. Not only are things going well at home and work, you are now able to plan and manage a family vacation.
When you realize that you don’t have your Suboxone, panic sets in. Suboxone, ZubSolv, Bunavail, and Subutex are sublingual buprenorphine medications that prevent opioid cravings and opioid withdrawal sickness.
A person prescribed these medications often feels as if they never had an opioid addiction problem. Over time, the addiction issue that affects the reward system of the brain heals, so long-term Suboxone treatment has multiple benefits.
Yet, when a person who takes Suboxone runs out, it can be a problem. For the first day or two, things may be fine. Suboxone has a long half-life and it takes time for the effects to wear off.
By the end of the 2nd day, or during the 3rd day, the withdrawal sickness starts to set in. And, if the patient is in early treatment, they may also have opioid cravings. Suboxone withdrawal can be intense, with intolerable symptoms, such as cold chills, restless legs, and cramping.
Does this mean that Suboxone patients are addicted to their medication? Did they simply trade one addiction for another? No, nothing could be further from the truth. The withdrawal syndrome associated with Suboxone is a physical withdrawal and not related to addiction. The addictive behavior stops with Suboxone treatment and the potential for addictive thinking subsides with time.
Can a methadone clinic help if my Suboxone was lost with my luggage?
If you are thinking about switching from Suboxone to methadone just because the airline lost your suitcase with your subs inside, or you left your strips at home There is no need to make such an extreme move.
Going from Suboxone to methadone is possible. I spoke to someone recently about his experience going to a methadone clinic because he was worried about a close call with having a relapse while on Suboxone. The clinic doctor was happy to see him. In fact, the doctor recommended the switch from buprenorphine to methadone, stating that methadone would “give him the high he was looking for.”
Fortunately, most methadone clinics are not so corrupt. The modern methadone clinic typically offers Subutex treatment in addition to methadone maintenance. Subutex, by the way, is Suboxone without the added naloxone abuse deterrent. At the methadone clinic, they are not worried about diversion because they watch their patients take every single daily dose, even if the medication is Subutex or Suboxone and not methadone.
So, to answer the question, a methadone clinic can very likely help out in the situation of losing your Suboxone while on vacation. They can help on a daily basis by administering your daily Suboxone under supervision. While the atmosphere of a methadone clinic and the thought of lining up at the clinic each and every morning is unappealing, it is a life-saving option for many people.
Additionally, there are clinics that provide daily Suboxone or Subutex treatment that are covered by healthcare insurance. If you have insurance and you are determined to use it, you may want to find a clinic that offers this higher level of care.
What if I just want to enjoy my vacation and put the problem of lost or misplaced Suboxone behind me?
Once, when I was at a traffic court, paying for a speeding ticket, I walked away from the cashier window and wandered into a nearby courtroom. I remember a large, newly renovated-appearing courtroom with light blue carpet. I sat at the far back, easily being able to hear the judge speak to defendants over the high-quality sound system.
While I do not remember the time period, or even what small, local city I was in at the time, I do remember vividly what the judge looked like and what he said to each defendant, most of whom were there for driving drunk.
With each case, he said to the despondent person standing before him that he wished he had a giant eraser that could erase what happened in the past. He said that, if he could, he would rather go back in time and fix things rather than hand down jail sentences to drunk drivers.
It reminded me of the advertisement for a company that cleans up water damage in a flooded home. They claim to restore the house as if nothing ever happened.
What if you could undo your mistake in leaving your medication behind? Or, what if you could go back in time and make the decision to keep your precious medications in a carry-on bag rather than checking them with your luggage?
Unfortunately, as that judge reminded every single drunk driver whom he sentenced, time travel does not exist. There is no magic eraser to undo mistakes in the past.
Yet, like the mitigation team that cleans up water-damaged homes, we would like to take action to approximate the effect of time travel as much as possible. We want to fix the problem to be as if it never happened.
So, while the doctor back home, the local hospital ER, a walk-in clinic, or even a methadone clinic may or may not offer a solution to Suboxone lost while on vacation, there is another option that might work out much better. Up to this point, we have considered medical systems that work more like factory lines, where patients are pushed through quickly. Or, they are treated like cogs in a giant machine that either get a quick fix or are quickly discarded.
There is no willingness in big box medicine to slow down and take the extra time and effort to treat a patient as a unique individual. No one wants to put aside the mountain of work that passes by each day, stopping the assembly line to help out one individual and solve their one problem.
What if there was a doctor who didn’t work in an assembly-line medicine environment?
There is a movement that is quietly sweeping across the country in personalized concierge medicine. This movement started on the west coast and has swept across the country to the east coast. Doctors are dropping out of the broken healthcare system and they are starting their own ideal clinics.
An ideal clinic, also known as a micropractice, is a small medical practice that consists of one doctor and possibly one or two staff members. In some cases, a micropractice is only the doctor with no additional staff.
All the red tape and complications of large medical clinics have been stripped away. The doctor realizes that the doctor-patient relationship does not require a human wall of gatekeepers, medical assistants, secretaries, or billing experts. All that is left is a doctor taking care of a patient to help solve their problems.
In many cases, ideal clinic doctors do not take insurance. When you think about it, the healthcare industry is bloated and mismanaged. Using insurance to pay for a medical visit is like using car insurance to pay for an oil change. Or, imagine getting up from dinner at a fancy restaurant and telling the waiter that he can submit the bill to your food insurance company and fight for reimbursement.
The intent of healthcare insurance is mainly to cover catastrophic events. When we all contribute a small amount regularly, we help the insurance company to be prepared to cover costs for the rare and unfortunate incidents that affect a few customers.
The original intent was not to cover routine medical care. Unfortunately, insurance companies have extended their influence to all aspects of medical treatment, creating problems where no problem would have existed otherwise.
How can a concierge Suboxone doctor help with the situation of lost medication while you’re on vacation?
If you have been doing everything the right way when it comes to your Suboxone treatment, why should you be punished for a simple mistake or unlucky circumstance that leads to your being on vacation without your Suboxone? What would happen if someone with the ability to help would take the time and effort needed to solve the problem?
A concierge doctor who runs a micropractice ideal clinic typically only sees a few patients during the week. Particularly, a concierge Suboxone doctor only maintains a relatively small panel of patients.
Ideally, the size of the panel should be limited so the doctor knows each patient very well individually. Also, there should be enough time for the doctor to give each patient at least up to an hour for their monthly appointments as well as being available for short communications during the month. The patients should never have to deal with angry office staff who do everything possible to limit access to the doctor. In fact, patients should be able to reach their doctor directly, if needed.
So, as you can imagine, with a concierge Suboxone doctor, who provides you with VIP service, problems that seem unsolvable can simply melt away. Why should getting a temporary, short-term Suboxone prescription be such a big deal?
The doctor can call your doctor back home, check controlled substance databases, call your pharmacy back home, and check whatever documentation you have brought with you. The entire process can be handled over a discreet and confidential telemedicine visit. You do not even have to leave your hotel room or AirBnB.
During your concierge suboxone telemedicine visit, you simply provide all available documentation and help your vacation doctor to make the necessary contacts to confirm the basic details of your situation. The next step is for the doctor to arrange for you to go to a tourist-friendly pharmacy to handle filling your prescription.
You might think to yourself that this is how the process should have been handled from the beginning. Why all of the runaround from everyone else? This is how doctors used to be in the old days.
Of course, in the old days, we did not have the dysfunctional healthcare system that we have today, infiltrated by healthcare administrators and insurance company executives. We may want to question the wisdom of tech entrepreneurs wanting to come in and “disrupt” the healthcare system.
Why would one profit-driven business person fix the system that was broken in the first place by another profit-driven business person? A flashy iPhone app and talk of angel investors and company valuation does not mean that everything is going to be all better.
Tech investors like to brag about moving fast and breaking things in business. That is what they tend to do, even when they openly claim that they will not do that when it comes to healthcare.
So, in looking for the ideal Suboxone doctor to help you out while on vacation, consider looking for a concierge doctor who is able to provide confidential and compassionate care. Look for a doctor who has the time to listen to you and then has the time to work on helping you to overcome your current challenge.
I recommend avoiding the busy Suboxone clinics, the family doctors who do some Suboxone prescribing on the side, and especially the pain doctors who prescribe opioids for pain while, at the same time, also attempting to treat opioid-addicted patients. That is not the waiting room you want to find yourself waiting in.
If you can locate a local concierge telemedicine Suboxone doctor to listen to you and work with you, you will have the best chance of resolving the issue and getting back to the business of having a great vacation. While there are other solutions that might work to hold you over, the best solution is one that makes you feel as if the problem never even happened.