When did doctors start prescribing Suboxone for opioid addiction?

Congress approved the Drug Addiction Treatment Act in 2000. Suboxone treatment was approved in 2002 for the purpose of saving the lives of people who have fallen into the nightmare of opioid addiction.

How do people get addicted to opiates and opioids? How does someone end up on heroin?

There are many ways in which a person can enter the terrifying world of addiction to opioids. There are gateway drugs. There is childhood peer pressure to drink alcohol and use marijuana.

Addicts follow a path of moving from one drug to another, typically progressing to more dangerous drugs. An addict starts as a casual drug user, then progresses to a drug abuser and then an addict. 

If you attend Narcotics Anonymous meetings, you will hear people identifying themselves as “addicts.” Often, they even find the distinction so important that they say it before their own name.

In recent years, the term, “addict”, is used less and certain experts are recommending against it, stating that it is a derogatory term. Some NA members have even started to introduce themselves as “having an addiction” rather than being an addict.

What drugs are opioid drugs?

Opioids include street drugs, such as heroin, and prescription pain medications. Heroin may be reached by the path of starting with a gateway drug such as alcohol or marijuana and eventually being introduced to heroin.

Pain due to accidents such as car accidents can lead to patients going to pain clinics. Pain clinic doctors often prescribe opioid medications to manage pain. While these medications can help, some patients may become addicted.

If I quit taking heroin, fentanyl, oxycodone, or another opioid, what are the psychological and physical symptoms I might expect?

Psychological Symptoms

The hallmark psychological symptom of quitting drugs is cravings. Cravings are intrusive thoughts, feelings, and plans that enter your mind unexpectedly throughout the day.

Cravings are the feeling that you need to take more drugs to survive. Something may trigger craving and it can persist for a while. You may find yourself obsessing on it.

You feel that unless you give in and take more drugs, you will not be able to get rid of the craving. Drug cravings occur with many drugs of abuse, yet they are particularly difficult to handle when it comes to quitting opioids. Other psychological withdrawal symptoms include insomnia, anxiety, depression, and a lack of motivation.

Physical Symptoms

Physical withdrawal symptoms occur when you quit taking an opiate or opioid. Withdrawal symptoms can be severe and occur in addition to the psychological symptoms of withdrawal.

Physical withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • chills
  • sweating
  • restlessness
  • muscle aches
  • cramping
  • abdominal pain
  • nausea
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting

How does Suboxone help?

Suboxone treatment involves the use of specially approved medication, Suboxone, which prevents withdrawal symptoms and it prevents cravings. If you take Suboxone for opioid addiction and the results are good, you will be able to quickly get back to living your normal life, putting the sickness of daily opioid use behind you.

If you are finding it impossible to quit taking opioids such as heroin or pain medication and you can see that your drug use is destroying your life, you can call Dr. Leeds and make an appointment to discuss Suboxone treatment and how it can help to prevent withdrawal sickness and cravings. It can help you get back to normal life without the need to keep chasing drugs every day, all day. Call Dr. Leeds in Fort Lauderdale and Broward County today.

Tell me more about how I can find a Suboxone clinic near me that can help. How can I find Suboxone clinics that are still accepting new patients?

Science has the answer to help you quit your opioid agonist.

Suboxone is a treatment drug used for certain types of addiction. Specifically, it is used to help people addicted to drugs such as heroin or other opioid drugs to quit their drug and get clean and into recovery. Suboxone, which is a medication that includes buprenorphine and naloxone, is a component of a highly effective treatment protocol. The main ingredient, buprenorphine, is a partial opioid agonist and an opioid antagonist at the same time.

This means that the drug blocks opioid receptors and activates them, like an opioid. This unique mechanism of action makes buprenorphine especially useful in medication-assisted treatment programs because it is safe and it has few side effects. Many patients claim that they feel as if they are not taking anything, yet they have few if any drug cravings or withdrawal symptoms.

There are around one million doctors in the United States. Of these, only about 80,000 are Suboxone doctors. While the number of physicians who can prescribe Suboxone has jumped significantly in the past few years, it is still not nearly enough. Additionally, many doctors who have registered to prescribe Suboxone, which is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone, are not currently accepting new patients for their Suboxone programs.

In addition to the relatively small number of Suboxone doctors, even fewer have a deep understanding of the addiction experience and the best way to address opioid addiction. Surprisingly, even doctors who have experienced addiction themselves do not always provide the best environment for recovery for their patients.

Doctors recovering from addiction may have been exposed to a particular form of indoctrination common in the rehab industry and recovery community. This can lead to them enforcing a “tough love” approach that may not be right for everyone. In many cases, understanding, empathy, and careful listening are key elements to understanding the unique experience of each patient.

Why would a Suboxone doctor turn away a new patient with opioid addiction for medication-assisted treatment with buprenorphine?

To become registered to prescribe Suboxone, a doctor must complete an eight-hour course and then apply for a buprenorphine waiver. In the course, basics are covered, including how to start a patient on buprenorphine and when to use Subutex vs Suboxone. These doctors are sometimes referred to as DATA-waived physicians because the law that allows them to prescribe Suboxone is known as DATA-2000, or the Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000.

Two years after this law was passed in the year, 2000, the FDA-approved medication, Suboxone, was finally released. When a doctor first registers, they may prescribe Suboxone to up to thirty patients. After a year, the doctor may request an increase to one hundred patients. After yet another year, the doctor may choose to request an increase to a maximum of 275 patients.

Are there really 80,000 doctors prescribing Suboxone? Where are they?

Interestingly, many doctors who register to be DATA-waived decide to not prescribe Suboxone at all. While the process of getting certified is relatively easy for a doctor, there are difficulties in providing addiction treatment with buprenorphine and other similar medications. These doctors choose to not accept patients for medication-assisted treatment after getting their waiver.

Other doctors may be seeing patients for heroin addiction and other opioid addiction problems, prescribing Suboxone to them, yet their panels are full. Additionally, there are areas of the United States that already have very few doctors. It follows that these areas may have few if any, Suboxone doctors.

The secret to finding a Suboxone clinic near you.

“How can I find Suboxone Doctors near me?” Easy. All you need to do is start by looking at some of the official directories where these medical providers are listed. You may want to start with the SAMHSA buprenorphine practitioner & treatment program locator.

SAMHSA is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. SAMHSA maintains an official list of medical practitioners, including doctors and clinics, who prescribe Suboxone to opioid-dependent people.

This list is based on doctors who have taken the required training and are registered with the government to prescribe buprenorphine-containing medications for medication-assisted treatment. The substance use treatment locator here can find treatment programs in your area by city or zip code.

Another similar source for finding addiction treatment from Suboxone doctors is Suboxone.com. This website is maintained by the company, Indivior, which is the manufacturer of the branded Suboxone Sublingual Film. The directory at this website may have a different listing of doctors in your area since it is not derived from the SAMHSA database. Doctors must apply to be included in the Suboxone.com.

There are a variety of free resources to help you to find local Suboxone doctors.

You may get the idea to search through other medication website physician locator databases to find doctors. For example, the website, ZubSolv.com, also has a treatment locator. However, this will probably not be helpful, since Orexo, the company that manufacturers ZubSolv, derives its database directly from SAMHSA.

In fact, the listings at ZubSolv.com may not be up to date with the SAMHSA database which it uses as its source. ZubSolv, by the way, is an alternate brand of buprenorphine and naloxone that is similar to Suboxone.

Another online option is a service provided by NAABT, the National Alliance of Advocates for Buprenorphine Treatment. This service is called Treatment Match, which you can find at treatmentmatch.org. This online tool provides an anonymous patient and physician match service that helps you match with a Suboxone doctor in your area who meets the specific criteria you are looking for.

If you are looking for a doctor who takes your insurance, for example, you can request this specifically in your listing. Doctors will be alerted that you are looking for Suboxone doctors, yet they will not be given your identity.

Searching Google and other local directories can help as well. It is possible to do a simple Google search for, “Suboxone doctors near me”, or “Suboxone clinics near me.” You will get a listing of nearby, local doctors who are likely active treatment providers.

The listings at the top of this sort of Google search usually start with map listings that correspond to Google maps. From here, you can read customer reviews and get detailed location information and directions.

After you have done some research to find Suboxone doctors in your area, it is time to make some phone calls. Calling medical clinics is never a fun activity, but it is essential to getting important information that you will need to make a decision about which doctor will be best for you. I recommend that you have a pen and paper ready or a device, such as a computer, tablet, or smartphone to record information during your calls.

Be prepared when you call Suboxone clinics with a list of questions.

When you make phone calls to local Suboxone doctors, you will want to be prepared with a list of specific questions. Open-ended questions, such as “tell me about how your program works,” may not get you the information that you are looking for. If you have health insurance, ask if the doctor is in-network. If the doctor is out-of-network, will the office help you to file a claim?

Is it possible for you to file a claim on your own? Also, ask if therapy and counseling are provided on-site or if you will be referred to an outside location for these treatment therapies.

Another question is to ask about what kind of medications are prescribed and how often you will have to go to the clinic. Is it like a methadone clinic where you have to go every day? Or do you have to go weekly? Monthly?

If you are continuing long-term treatment, but you are simply changing doctors, how will the doctor address this situation? Does the clinic provide telemedicine services? If this is your first time going in for Suboxone treatment, ask details about the induction process. Induction is basically when you take your first dose of Suboxone or buprenorphine.

Ask if you must come into the clinic free of opioids for a certain time period and should you be experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Also, ask if there are any specific appointment scheduling rules, such as charges for missed appointments.

Ask the Suboxone clinic how they handle insurance issues in their office.

After you have done your research by calling several local Suboxone doctors to enquire about treatment options and treatment plans, the cost of treatment, health insurance coverage, and any other details about what treatments are provided, you will be ready to make a decision. Be sure to ask if the clinic staff will handle prior authorizations for your prescriptions.

There are some doctors who refuse to offer this service, putting the burden on you to fight with your insurance company to cover your treatment medication. Also, will your Suboxone doctor handle other types of medical care? Will they serve as your primary doctor or family doctor?

If you have Medicare, you may want to ask about Medicare coverage. Also, don’t forget to do a background check of the doctor’s credentials. You may want to look at reviews and recommendations on various physician review websites. After you have identified different doctors who are located near your residence, you can decide on the doctor who best meets your criteria.

Empathy is the key to healing.

Even after doing all of this research, you may find that a doctor is not the best match for you. In the end, your life and future success and happiness should not be based on only finding the best price bargains. Consider other factors as well. Is the doctor friendly?

Does the doctor show empathy and understanding of what you are going through? Does your doctor listen to you carefully and take into account your unique experiences and who you are as a unique individual?

We are all different and there is no effective one-size-fits-all approach to treating addiction. Additionally, it is important that your doctor is open-minded when it comes to new approaches to helping patients and changing course in a treatment plan, when necessary, to improve individual outcomes.

Medical care is available and expanding into new areas.

It is true that a lot of work can go into finding a good doctor who can help you to get clean from opioid and opiate drugs, such as morphine, Dilaudid, oxycodone, and heroin. The good news is that you have many treatment options today that were not available just two decades ago. In the not-to-distant past, the only medication-assisted treatment option for opioid addiction was to go to a methadone clinic.

Today, there are two drugs used for MAT in addition to methadone. These drugs, buprenorphine, and naltrexone are available in multiple forms, implants, injections, tablets, films, troches. We are well past the era when MAT meant going every morning to the clinic for your daily dose of methadone.

It should be noted that rehabs are increasingly offering Suboxone therapy as well.

While the use of buprenorphine for opioid use disorder was originally intended to be prescribed in doctor’s offices, residential rehabs and partial hospitalization programs (PHP), and intensive outpatient programs (IOP) are starting to provide Suboxone and Subutex treatment as well. There are even sober living homes that allow residents to take prescribed Suboxone.

The world has changed and is coming to accept the therapeutic value of medication-assisted therapy. Some experts refer to this as “the new recovery.” I hope that we can all be open-minded when it comes to new medical therapies for addiction treatment that are supported by extensive scientific study.

As North American leaders at all levels, from small towns to cities, to the federal governments, become aware that the opioid crisis is serious and it is not going away on its own, they are beginning to take action. In one New England city, officials have built a system that guarantees same-day medical treatment for opioid addiction.

Just outside the US, in British Columbia, Canada, harm reduction is being provided at all levels, keeping heroin users safe from overdose and contagious disease. In many communities, full-service programs are being built from the ground up to provide full medical care for opioid addiction, starting with emergency department admissions to local clinics. These programs typically have funding to help drug users who cannot afford treatment with a private doctor.

You can get started with addiction treatment now.

While it may seem like getting into an opiate substance abuse treatment program can be difficult, with a little work, you can do the research and find an available treatment program that will work for you in your own community. If you live in a rural area that has a shortage of medical treatment options, you may have to travel a bit to get treatment.

In the near future, telemedicine and telehealth programs will expand and become authorized to provide full Suboxone therapy by doctors online. Until telemedicine MAT is available, you still will be able to find Suboxone treatment today if you need help getting clean now from opiate and opioid drugs.

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