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Gaps in Addiction Treatment Drives Black Market Suboxone

Suboxone is one of three federally approved medications used for treating opioid use disorders. Because the medication is an opiate itself, some people misuse it by snorting or injecting it to get high. Patients who have a prescription for suboxone sometimes sell it or give it away, which is known as diversion. Because of the diversion of suboxone, many policymakers and officials are calling for tighter restrictions.

Suboxone Limitations

Providers need to be certified to prescribe suboxone and there is a limit to the number of patients a provider can treat at any given time. Addiction medicine specialists argue that the problem with suboxone diversion is completely misunderstood. The suboxone black market exists because addiction treatment can be difficult to find.

President Donald J. Trump is expected to sign a new bill which would allow increased access to medication for opiate addiction treatment, but it’s not certain how quickly that access will happen. In the meantime, a lot of people who are suffering from opiate dependence could be forced to use black market suboxone to attempt self-treatment.

Buprenorphine: The Weaker Opiate

Dr. Kelly Clark, president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine which supports Trump’s efforts to increase access to medication-assisted treatment believes it will be more beneficial than risky. Suboxone is not as dangerous as heroin or heroin mixed with fentanyl, the risks of an overdose with it are minimal. It is possible to overdose with buprenorphine, particularly if someone doesn’t have an opiate tolerance or if the drug is mixed with other substances, but that’s very rare.

The effects of suboxone are less potent than heroin and the medication blocks the euphoric effects of opiates. Buprenorphine is often formulated with naloxone (Suboxone), which reduces abuse potential and reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.  Because of its effects few people actually use the medication to get high. More people use buprenorphine to avoid withdrawal and to be able to resist using illegal drugs like heroin.

Limited Access Equals Lives in Danger

People who are desperate to become clean and can’t access treatment will either continue using opiates or will try to treat themselves. Medication-assisted treatment with suboxone can be hard for some people to get. A medical provider will need a special training course and waiver to prescribe the medication, and federal rules restrict the number of patients a doctor can treat and a cap that’s specific to suboxone.

Someone who is struggling with an addiction should never self-medicate to treat their dependence. A dependent person needs a suboxone doctor to determine the proper dose of medication and to oversee them while receiving medication-assisted treatment. For those in search of a licensed suboxone doctor, we invite you to contact our clinic today because we will treat you and help you along your personal journey to recovery.