• Jessica Colarossi

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    Jessica Colarossi

    Jessica Colarossi is a science writer for The Brink. She graduated with a BS in journalism from Emerson College in 2016, with focuses on environmental studies and publishing. While a student, she interned at ThinkProgress in Washington, D.C., where she wrote over 30 stories, most of them relating to climate change, coral reefs, and women’s health. Profile

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There are 99 comments on Why Making Buprenorphine Opioid-Based Medication Available without a Prescription Could Save Lives

  1. The current opioid epidemic is tragic, and ameliorating the suffering involved without is daunting. Yet, Medicated Assisted Therapy is not the only way to recover from the hopeless state of mind and body associated with opioid addiction; and as someone who has first hand experience, I can say that suboxone is a much harder and longer detox than heroin. While the medical establishment heavily advocates for the use of suboxone, many in the field of recovery speak to its dangers, notably the continuation of a dependence to opioids with no real protocol for detox. Abstinent based methods, as the article shows, receive incredible stigma from treatment field, and the practitioners prescribing suboxone have huge financial incentives to do so. Also there many opioid users who only use subxone, and the idea that this drug would be not be mis-managed in a over the counter form is laughable. Arguing for safe injection sites, where users are contained and can use their drugs safely is a far better use of policy making time.

    1. As someone who used to be addicted to heroin and morphine, I have this to say concerning your response:

      Bupe withdrawl sucks. Sure. But heroin is MUCH worse. I’ve detoxed from both. Neither are pleasant, but make no mistake, I’d take a bupe detox any day over an H detox.

      As for the “continuation of dependence with no real protocol for detox”, I say people are ALREADY addicted. It’s just a question of, do you want that addiction to dominate and ruin your life, or do you want it to be manageable so that you can live a normal life and be a productive citizen? For those who cannot successfully detox or do not have the will, it’s the clearly superior option. And having no clear protocol for detox is no reason to dismiss it. There’s no real clear protocol for detoxing off heroin either. And at the end of the day if you want to detox there are plenty of guys out there that step you down in your dosage every week. Can’t exactly do that with heroin. I’ve tried.

      Safe injection sites only allow the same super high highs and super low lows. Which will lead to the exact same lifestyle and choices. Suboxone levels out the high highs and the lows lows. It’s not a magic bullet but it’s definitely the best we’ve got.

        1. Best idea ive heard of yet..100 percent think they should make this happen and in all parts of the US not in just 1 state.this is a miracle drug if used correctly..it saved my life for sure

          1. The medication still causes issues with driving, is addictive, is hard to withdraw from, etc. It is still a narcotic and should NOT be received without a prescription.

          2. If you don’t know there was a time they said heroin was less addictive then morphine,and it was all over you could buy it and a syringe from the Sears catalog.
            with the new rules ALL opiates are schedule 2 drugs and Buprenorphine is now the ONLY schedule 3 pain reliever that is lower in schedule then the others, doctors will be handing it out like candy to protect their asses, and it will only be time before some smart druggie figures out how to use Buprenorphine as a precursor to making something else out of it. In New Zealand since acquiring heroin is so hard to get they use oxycodone as a precursor to make heroin. So I don’t think making Buprenorphine over the counter is a good idea even if I think as a pain reliever it’s full of shit and the fact it makes treating pain from a emergency surgery nearly impossible since it attaches to the opiate pain receptors and sort of hogs it preventing any other pain medicine not work the current protocol for treatment of pain for those on it is if the pain is
            providers have 3 main options, depending on the anticipated level of pain:

            If they deem that the surgery will only cause mild to moderate acute pain, they may continue buprenorphine, while adding and optimizing non-
            opioid pain modalities.
            If the providers anticipate that surgery will cause moderate pain, they can treat the patient with intravenous buprenorphine.
            If they anticipate severe pain, providers can discontinue buprenorphine in lieu of high-dose and carefully titrated short-acting opioids until the buprenorphine is cleared from the patient’s body
            So I’m not a big fan of this new “wonder drug “of the new century

          3. I was addicted to oxycodone when I got pregnant and tried to stop multiple times; however, it was very difficult and I ultimately couldn’t stop. I was afraid to go to a doctor out of fear of the repercussions I would face. I was off the substance for about 2 months and went for the first time to see a doctor for subutex. What most don’t realize is long after the withdrawals have passed you still feel horrible for months. I couldn’t get the feeling of being normal again. This is why so many people relapse. I feel like subutex/suboxone treatment is an amazing alternative. people have the ability to Not abuse it if they received it monitored from the pharmacy. What’s the difference between someone getting it from the pharmacy directly or getting it from the pharmacy after seeing a doctor? Other than paying close to or over 300 a month to see that doctor. Subutex vs suboxone doesn’t contain naloxone which is why often doctors will prescribe naloxone as a precaution to any overdose. But subutex also has a ceiling affect which means you can’t keep taking more to get a stronger feeling.

          1. I TOTALLY AGREE! I WAS ON OPIATES, WENT TO SUBOXONE/SUBUTEX – WORST THING EVER!!! TOOK ME SIX WEEKS TO COME OFF IT. IT WAS HELL!!!

      1. The distinction must be made about buprenorphine and short acting Opiate withdrawal. It comes downs to which misery you desire. Do you want a few weeks of back shattering, bone chilling, body aching, absolute short term misery OR do you want the less intense but prolonged soul sucking, quality of life destroying withdrawal continuum that last for up to 6 months to 2 years with Buprenorphine. That my friends is the difference. Anyone with any sense would choose the short term misery over the long term misery of buprenorphine that is so acutley protracted. Heroin withdrawal or other short acting Opiates hold no place in the totality of withdrawal to buprenorphine or methadone for that matter. Last distinction. I would say there is an argument for people that have been on it for a brief amount of time that will have the 30 day withdrawal and it’s over, but for the long term users. Not a chance for most of them.

        1. It depends on the person. As you can see from the above comments, for some, Bupe detox is worse than Heroin and vice versa. I have gone cold turkey from years of high doses of Methadone and was completely back to normal in about 30 days. I’ve heard horror stories of the detox from Methadone lasting for years.
          Even though I was 100% clean for up to a year, I still always relapsed back into opiate addition. In my case, Opiates are a form of self medication for an extreme feeling anxiety that I’ve always had and is untreatable by any other method. I have now switched to Bupe and have been on it for 8 years with problems. It works for me and I’d like to see it available over the counter in addition to safe injection sites for addicts that have not yet recovered. This practice has been used in the UK successfully for something like 15 years now.

          1. I have been on Suboxone for 3 almost 4 years now and I have no desire to stop taking it.
            my dose has been set for the past 2 years, and I don’t feel the need to lower it or increase it.
            my quality of life has greatly improved since taking this medicine. Before i found suboxone treatment i was addicted to pain killers and muscle relaxers, to the point of losing my job and almost losing my marriage and family. Thankfully i found a Doctor in my local area that got me on Suboxone and also some therapy for awhile. Since being on Suboxone my Marriage has never been better, and i started a new job where i am now the top salesman for our company. I don’t have any issues with feeling numb, or sleeplessness as others have described. i believe once you find the dose that is right for you and stick with it you wont have any issues. My Doctor and I have spoken about keeping me on this medication long term as we see no reason to take me off, my quality of life is better with it and i have no health issues, so why mess with it?
            in cases like mine being able to buy over the counter would help out tremendously with costs, as i would only need to pay for the medication and not worry about having to pay for drug tests and doctor visits.my doctor has tried to help me with this buy giving me a 3 month supply at a time, which is the max he is allowed to prescribe. that is the best we could do for now until this becomes over the counter

        2. What are you talking about, didn’t you grasp anything the authors were trying to say? Apparently the dialogue you are searching for in the opiate debate lies somewhere else, as the material here focuses on ACCESS to life saving alternatives, not the various outlooks that veer on the horizon, and only after the most critical aspect of withdrawal is confronted and dealt with successfully, occuring in the first phase of a patient’s desire to quit using. Perhaps that first step means an indefinite length of time, the choice of either using heroin for the remainder of one’s life or a far better one, buprenorphine. I have and it gave me my life back. I know i would still be a heroin addict to this day. But because treatment is so difficult to access in the first place my sobriety didn’t begin soon enough, and that’s a shame. I didn’t OD but I did nearly die from endocarditis caused from MRSA during heroin use. So slow down and follow the bouncing ball, will you?

        3. Suboxone is not the same as other opiates, and it allows people to get their lives together.

          This kind of ignorant “just say no” dogma is only harmful to people who are trapped in a cycle of illegal and ruinous drug use.

          It is easy to “just say no” if you feel like those already hooked are hopeless.

          They aren’t. They need drugs like suboxone in order to function like normal human beings and finally quit.

          Make no mistake. No one can shake an addiction unless they are able to first become functional members of society.

          No. The withdrawals from Suboxone are not bad if one tapers off of the medication correctly. If you are experiencing horrible withdrawals, you are not quitting properly.

          1. I totally agree. Suboxone saved me from a terrible life of daily Percocet abuse. I called a doctor to quit and he saved my life. I was scared and didnt want to tell anyone. I was alone in my misery. I called the doctor and my life changed. He prescribed Suboxone and i have been taking it now for 3 years. I feel great and I live a normal life now. I have tapered down to 1 1/2 8mg strips a day and my plan is to taper down again….if and when I can and want to. No pressure and no fear. The only problem is it costs me $230 a month just to see the doctor. Fortunately now my insurance covers the prescription where before I was paying for the doctor and another $400 a month for the Suboxone. If I could get my Suboxone over the counter I wouldn’t have to pay $230 a month for a 15 minute doctor visit. The point is, if you want to be clean and live a great life again Suboxone works. Like any drug if you abuse it or take it wrong, it wont work for you. Isn’t that the same for any OTC drug??? Suboxone needs to be available at a pharmacy without the cost and the wait for doctor visits. It would help everyone that wants to quit and change their life!!! At a minimal expense!!! It would help a lot more people struggling to find a better life!!!

        4. AMEN BROTHER – BUP. WAS HELL FOR ME – OVER 6 WEEKS W/ AFTER EFFECTS. PHARMACIES COULDN’T HANDLE THIS & DRS’ WOULDN’T ALLOW IT – THOSE WHO CARRY THE “SPECIAL LICENSE”. MIST OBSURD ARTICLE EVER.

      2. Absolutely agree, you are already addicted, buprenorpgine SAVED MY LIFE. I was so badly addicted and such a mess that My family my friend and even myself thought I would NEVER come out of it. Here I am not having used in almost 7 years,after being an actively using addict for 16 years. People are dying left and right, a girl I went to school with just Overdosed in a Kroger bathroom killing herself and the baby she was carrying. We don’t have time to argue if medication assisted treatment is “still being addicted” or not, we don’t have time to wait for people to stop on their own, especially when the studies show that abstinence based treatment fails time and time again. People are dying, people are dying and one more time for those in the back PEOPLE ARE DYING. The opioid epidemic is far too deadly to waste time arguing ethics. We need to focus on getting addicts to a stable life and away from risk of an overdose death, especially with relapse deaths being so numerous.

      3. Bupe detox is a walk in the park compared to …EVERY other opiatie… to say that there equal makes me question if you ever did either… unfortunately my most successful 100% detox comes with an arrest… it takes the mental anguish there is no option and acceptance is inevitable.. bot to say it’s not in the back of your mind when your getting out you ultimately have the option… I have found that if I try and stay off everything when I get out of jail. Buck booty clean I find myself screwing up much faster if subs are not availible . Bupe is a little longer but not nearly as intense.. it’s almost sleep able with clonidine loperamide and mild benzo lil IBprophone for the new pains comming back that your not used to as well. Good luck everyone I’m on day 1 full. Bupe no micro induction and I dont feel any precipitate I’m quite pleased I’ve taken a whole 8mg over 12 hours and feel lil uncomfortable but not diarrhea no cold sweat no vomiting…lol bit of back pain but that’s to be expected

      4. I actually have a few questions for you. I agree with your opinion. I personally have been on pain meds and than sub program. Currently I am in day 2 without anything and it’s NOT FUN! I have a lot of medical problems physically and I don’t know which is better for me pain meds or subutex? Which will make my life feel better and not have issues with getting my scripts from these docs nowadays..? It’s getting worse the older I get. I just wish docs would take their time to talk to patients about all options.

        1. I suffer from horrible low back pain from a condition called adhesive arachnoiditis. I have never been addicted to street drugs or even prescription pain meds such as oxy. I made the decision to get off the high dose oxy and to get on Suboxone. I took myself to a pain clinic and made the switch. I’ve been on it about 15 months and am getting good pain relief–well, as good as anything else I have ever taken because this is considered an extremely painful disease. I don’t notice any side effects but I need to take it every 4 hours due to my pain. Hope this helps you decide what to do.

    2. If they can have a site for injection then why not offer buprenorphine there aswell. This would be another alternative atleast. I know how heroin addicts think. They want that immediate warm rush of heroin going to the brain and nothing else will do. Especially if nothing else is available. It would seem to me that having alternative medicine available is the key to stopping injections. Yeah, it might take time but we need alternatives more now than ever before in the history of America.

    3. Zach, I dont think you were paying attention when you read this article. First, and this has nothing to do with your attention span, you said that, from first hand experience that suboxone was much harder to withdraw from than heroin. In your case maybe it was but I can tell you from many first hand experiences that it can vary tremendously from person to person no matter which opioid it is. Second, the article is specifically talking about “subutex” not “suboxone”. You may or may not know both are buprenorphine but suboxone has an opiate blocker in it known as “naloxone “. Despite what some physicians will say naloxone can cause adverse reactions making it a very different medication than subutex. And last, you said dispensing it otc would be laughable as it would surely be abused. That’s why the writer gave Canada as an example, that dosing is closely monitored by the pharmacist and amounts purchased would be closely monitored. At this point ANYTHING anywhere in the realm of help with this terrible disease would be welcome.

    4. Well said zach and your comment was even pre covid, back when these opioid peddling snakes still pretended that “medication ASSISTED treatment” had any other goal than to monopolize the profits of maintaining addiction. and the no detox protocol became an emergency because god forbid anything interrupts the free flow of their dope and profits. its like a hostage situation to policymakers. They are now lobbying trying to make buprenorphine treatment MANDATORY for people who get a DUI… not even gonna rant about why thats not ok because its obvious to anyone unless they have an agenda

      1. First off sobutex nor suboxone does not help at all with alcohol withdrawal so that would be a stupid idea..was not made for alcohol and would not help at all

    5. I am someone who was just taking a few Tylenol w Codine a week to deal with a couple of herniated discs…but wanted something safer to take around my xanax I take daily for anxiety…I met a doctor who works with my hand specialist. I met with him online and he didn’t even have my medical files while meeting with me. I told him about wanting something safer to take w my xanax and he just prescribed a generic film form of Suboxone.

      I didn’t know exactly what it was as I trusted him as I trust my hand specialist through some kind of transitive property. I was told to make sure I stop my Tylenol w Codeine 24 hours beforehand. I had a whole day of taking nothing for pain before taking it yesterday, and waited 7 hours before taking my xanax. It was so strong…I was so afraid to fall asleep and am finding myself very sick w weakness and heart palpitations the next day.

      My fitbit logged a drop from my usual 16 breaths per minute to 11 by the time I woke up w a raging headache and nausea this morning. My head is spinning and my memory is impaired today. There is no way that drug should have been prescribed to me. I called his office to report how sick it made me and he wouldn’t talk to me or call me back, just instructed the person I spoke to to make another appointment with him next week.

      I’ve taken pain meds a lot in my life for several sports injuries and surgeries. I’ve taken most strong meds like Norco and oxycodone before. This was way stronger than Oxycodone. I’ve never taken anything like this before and certainly need anything that strong. It had been so hard to even find a doctor to just give me some Tylenol with Codeine. Something is very wrong with this drug and I feel strongly that something scandalous is going on. There is no way this drug is safer than any other opioid out there. I found the article about the huge lawsuit against the makers of the drug and the same drug under different branding being discontinued in the US. I could not find information regarding my horrible experience as if it were scrubbed from Google. Something is not right. I was relieved to read this.

    6. That simply is just not true. The way it works is mostly the same for everyone there are slight differences for every individual. I was on it for 2 years and tapered myself off of it over two months time and I had zero problems with it. The only problem to worry about suboxone or Subutex when it comes to Fentanyl, is if you take either one of those two early from the last time you used then you have a very good chance to go into reciprocated withdrawals. That my friends is the worst ever.

    7. I believe someone will get high regardless. Suboxone may be another opioid but at the end of the day which would you rather see driving a car down the street: fentanyl addict or someone on suboxone? I understand and know first hand what your saying but readily available suboxone is better then readily available fentanyl/heroin (drug dealers). I will also say that fentanyl is in its own class because this shits suffocating not just my hometown of Milwaukee wisconsin, but every large or tiny town in america. We never thought heroin could get any worse but fentanyl has proved us VERY wrong!

    8. If the problem is addressed +(cured) eliminated, then Big
      Pharma would lose a large share of permanent customers.This solution would not be profitable therefore in this country it will never be solved,same as most conditions in the USA.you cant outrun GREED

  2. I was at John Hopkins doing an in patient study on buprenorphine. A measured dose administered under the tongue and holding it there for 10 minutes every morning. This went on for 3 months. At 2 and 1/2 months they started reducing the dose. At the end of the 3rd month I was free to leave and was very surprised that I was feeling no withdraw at that time. However, just like any disease, the disease of opiate addiction kicked right back in. The cravings started and with money in my pocket given to me upon release I went straight for my opiate of choice..,(heroin).
    If I could have gone immediately back to get buprenorphine I would have done so. BTW since it was only a study we received no council at all. None, and I think that may have atleast slowed down the thought process of acquiring a replacement opioid. It is a disease ofcourse, but it is of the mind,body, and soul. The bell once rung does not simply unring. I’ve lost many friends and much of my life has been ruined because of the insidious nature of this disease. Had I been able to
    walk inside of a store and get a dose of buprenorphine I would have done just that.. The withdrawal from buprenorphine is different than that of most narcotics and opioids. Infact they are much easier to deal with and in time I may have stopped altogether. However, no treatment facility
    of that type was around and so I went back to using until I could get on a methadone clinic. That was the game changer and atleast I was able to get my life in order. The stigma involved was more than just bad. Once it was known I was on methadone my family treated me like a pariah.
    An outcast, a throw away. Imagine if diabetics were treated so badly. Now I still live my life on methadone but I must do it in secret or I wouldn’t be allowed to live my life like a normal human being. I’m reducing my dosage slowly and will eventually be off of methadone all together. I’m so afraid of what will happen when that day comes.
    I’m not sure I can continue living like everyone else because of the memory of the feeling still bouncing around in my head. I don’t see my life lasting much past that point, but I just don’t know.
    It’s a sinking feeling I live with everyday. I sincerely pray that the young people don’t have to go through the lack of caring like I have. Yet every Friday I go and pick a a weeks worth at a time. My urine has been completely free of any illicit drugs for 3 years now because of the methadone. I know I can’t continue down the path I’m on because of the depression of a lifetime of being stigmatized and in the on going battle that is addiction. Getting free of it just isn’t enough. I just want my family to love me like I remember they once did.
    To those people who are fighting I can only say get on a clinic because the battle is never going to be over even once you get clean. It’s a war not a battle and we the addicted are not meant to come out of it alive and well. Maybe alive will just have to do if you can get free early on.

    1. Maybe that says something about your family. Maybe they have issues that are way worse than what you are battling. I have two sons who I love more than words could ever say. I pray for their health and protection every day but should one of them be in your situation my love for them would only become stronger. This is not a disease that you simply chose to infect yourself with. Just like a smoker doesnt willingly inject himself with cancer cells. Would you stop loving someone because maybe a place they worked gave them a “bipolar disorder”? You’re much stronger than you think. You’re probably the strongest person you know. You’ve been fighting everyday for three years. You’re a survivor

  3. From article: “People with opioid addiction will not feel a euphoria from taking buprenorphine, thereby limiting its potential addictive effects. While people can develop a physical dependence, addiction to buprenorphine is rare.” Absolute nonsense. I am on the front lines and that statement is pure bollocks. Suboxone is the most smuggled drug into prison today where it sells for up to a hundred dollars a strip and the Roy thinks it should be sold over the counter? I work with addicts in treatment and Suboxone is highly addictive, I had one client who was taking such large doses it took him 62 days to finally taper off the withdrawals were so intense. Is Suboxone a tool in the tool kit to address addiction? Yes. But what is proposed in this article is not only wrong, but madness.

    1. Euphoria only occurs in those who are opiate nieve or have already detoxed from their DOC. If there’s a direct continuation from the opioid DOC to bupa, there’s no euphoria. On a side note, I don’t know many people who actually enough the feeling they get from recreational use of bupe. (Dizziness, nausea, headache. In no way comparable to the high you’d get from a full agonist)

      Methadone is an entirely different story though.

    2. They are taking it in prison because they are addicts and need bupe to function. I would love to see bupe legalized and given to anyone in prison that wants it. U think they are getting high on bupe!? That is so ignorant u have no clue!

      1. Are you kidding? If you have no opiate tolerance, suboxone gets you VERY high. I relapsed after about 6 months of clean time. I took HALF of an 8 mg strip. I was high for about 24 hours. It’s not as enjoyable as opiates but it definitely is strong as hell.

    3. Sorry but no opiate addict is going to buy Suboxone or Subutex to get high period end of SENTENCE! i have been dealing with opiate addiction since 2002. first I was on Methadone from 2002 – to somewhere around 2010 when i quit my local clinic cold turkey off 120 mlg of methadone. I then after 3 months of never feeling any better went to a suboxone clinic and have been going since. I don’t feel it when i take my 8 mlg strip each day. But i do if I don’t. I have always been a functioning addict(can’t get more with no $) I work as a union Boilermaker since 1999 but would not have been able to hold down a job without either Methadone or Suboxone. I feel like Suboxone is a better drug than Methadone for maintenance but that’s just my 2 cents. NO ONE IS GOING TO BUY SUBOXONE TO GET HIGH! They would buy real opiates. People just wanting to not be in withdrawl are the people this would help. I honestly societyk it should be available over the counter with certain restrictions. I would not be a productive member of society if not for Suboxone. They can track ephidrine sells over the counter so why not allow Suboxone to be sold over the counter (with restrictions)

  4. I went for my monthly doctor appointment where I receive a recurring prescription for subutex. Its helped me greatly with everyday functioning after breaking my neck and the surgeries that followed. I have chronic pain and I’m a otherwise healthy 42 year old man. When it was time to write my script he said “we have a problem, this medication can no longer be prescribed to anyone except pregnant women period”. No plan to taper from it, no options, no nothing except an apology. Now this article is talking about having it available without even having a prescription. What am I missing? Can you look into this matter and see what the deal is because I’m very confused and in a great deal of pain. I was getting Subutex 8mg sublingual tablets, not as an addiction aid, but for chronic pain relief for the last 2 years and now without notice I’m turned away. I’m no addict (nothing against those fighting the good fight), but this seems like a cruel joke to me. Please she’d some light on this subject.

    1. This has been going on for 10 years now.. I remember a doctor telling me the same exact thing back in 2009, but I found another doctor who continued to prescribe it to me for about 3 years around 2012/2013 and he said the same thing the last doctor said only pregnant women are allowed to have this.. I have yet to find a doctor since then to prescribe it.. I cant believe you were on it till just recently? And yes it seems like a cruel joke.. I thought the same thing as I was always prescribed it for pain.. Now I’m almost 40 have had 5 surgeries and btk amputation and can’t get anything for pain.. It feels like they are messing with us.. Trying to push us over the edge!

    2. Subutex is only for pregnant women but SUBOXONE is available thru prescription if you can find a Dr who can and will prescribe it for you. I go to a suboxone clinic to receive my prescription. Good luck!

      1. So true there are so many opiate addicts that are just thrown into prison with no kinds of detox. I’m not a liberal in any means but this needs to stop (referring to opiate addicts being imprisoned with no help). I’m sure several people will say good they will get clean in there but that isn’t the case at all. This mind set has brought us to this very problem. I for one would probably commit suicide if I got put in jail with no detox.

      2. Sorry but you are not correct correct the only difference in Suboxone & Subutex is naloxne (narcan) which Suboxone doesn’tas and Subutex doesnt.

    3. First your doctor should be immediately reported to the appropriate commission that oversees his license. You shouldn’t have been abruptly taken off this type of medication. What you are saying happened to you doesnt make any sense. Subutex was discontinued a couple of years ago, subutex is just the name of a buprenorphine tablet made by a certain pharmaceutical company. There are several more companies that make buprenorphine. He could have simply switched you to one of those or even to suboxone. I suspect your doctor isn’t telling you the whole story. There are many very shady doctors out there. Your best bet now is to go to an addiction specialist to get subutex seeing as how you are likely legitimately addicted to it now that you’ve been on it for two years.

    4. Yep! Same thing happened to me. Just as Pain Doctors went nuts when the cdc guidelines for primary care doctors came out, they either misread or just casually glance at the SAMSHA guidelines for Buprenorphine. It states that ‘Pregnant women may do better in subutex instead of Suboxone’ and it is up to patient to decide. Also Doctors continue the crap of must be allergic to Suboxone but SAMSHA says, ‘patients allergic OR WITH HYPERSENSITIVITIES to Suboxone can be placed on Subutex’. If you can, contact your doctor and tell them this! Plus you were taking it for pain not addiction but pain doctors are the most ignorant in the field of medicine especially when it comes to opiates and laws surrounding them. Luckily I only needed half of what I was prescribed and I’m looking at a 10-20 day supply and trying to find info on how to use for H withdrawal while also decreasing dose to not incur another addiction. Good luck with your doctor.

    5. Its supposed to be for pregnant women that is true but its up to the prescribers discretion. I know a few recieving subutex buprenorphine sublingual. They are not pregnant. So im not sure why your prescriber decided to change your script.

    6. All I have to say is HOLY CRAP PLEASE DON’T! In 2007 I was diagnosed with testicular cancer stage 4. I was given chemotherapy radiation being surgery and came away from it all cancer free, thank God, taking two to three Norco today. This was my first experience with opioids. About 2015 I started having feelings like fire ants were crawling up and down my legs constantly it’s called chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy then it will drive you insane. The doctor had its time ratcheted me up to oxycodone for breakthrough pain and oxycontin three times a day. In 2019 I was diagnosed with stage 4 esophageal cancer and given 12 to 14 months to live. They put me on palliative care which entailed a 100 microgram fentanyl patch with 60 mg of oxycodone every 2 to 3 hours as needed. I think God then chemotherapy shrunk the tumor enough where it could be removed however when I woke up from a trans hiatal esophagectomy the doctor would only give me 15 mg of oxycodone every 6 hours. After reading some of your comments I’m sure that you know I was in withdrawal like no tomorrow along with the pain having my stomach and my esophagus removed. I found a doctor as soon as I got out that put me on Subutex (Buprenorphine). I am very thankful however if I don’t take it I go into withdrawals. I also know that some of you have had pharmacies look at you a certain way when you go to get your prescription filled or they want to give you their own quote counseling. I’m just saying and putting in my two cents worth that there would be some pharmacist that it would be a nightmare and an embarrassing situation to get your medication. I give God total credit for being cancer free! Now I am faced with having to find a pain medication. My doctor, who I think the world of, Miss told me at my age, which is 50, if I go back to normal pain medications we would be at the ceiling then where would I go so that’s why I stay on the Subutex but make no mistake, your body becomes dependent upon it. My only fear would be how I’ve been treated here in Oklahoma. The only pharmacy that ever didn’t look at me mod was the pharmacy in the cancer hospital, because they deal with those high doses daily. This is just been my experience in my two cents worth. Thank you

  5. Hello I live in Gouldsboro Pa and I can’t find a place that has subutex I’ve tried suboxon doesn’t work for me! Why is it so hard to get subutex when I’m trying to get off of opiates I’ve had 10 foot surgeries so the last 15 years I’ve been taking percs buying them off the streets people charge to much or it’s not even a percet! I’ve gone thru withdrawal and it really sucks!also they charge you so much money to get off opiates which is stupid people are trying to get better and they can’t! Does anyone no off a place near Sranton Pa or stroudsburg Pa thanks Nadine

    1. I just wanted to let you know I am from Stroudsburg PA and prescribed subutex. I was prescribed suboxone as first but had really bad side effects. I told my doctor I was trying to have a baby and I got switched to subutex and my side effects went away. But as they didn’t want to switch me cause the doctor said they only prescribe it to pregnant women or I heard if you’re allergic to suboxone then they might switch you but it’s jumping through hoops. Although I pAss all my tests. My doctor did say that after I had the baby they would have to switch me back but I could try the shot Subuclade because it’s a extended release form of subutex. It doesn’t have the blocker in it. anyway. I go to Pyramid in Bartonsville PA. Hope that helps

  6. I am living proof of the power of bupe in its ability for me to get off the hard stuff, then to methadone, then to bupe! It helped save me!

  7. Hello, my name is Chris. I was addicted to opiates for 10 years. I started taking Suboxone 5 years ago. When I first started with my MAT the Suboxone alone gave me major insomnia and major anxiety even panic attacks. So my doctor put me on Klonopin and I haven’t had any problems with relapse. For 5 years my life has been wonderful. These meds saved my life. I never even abused my medications. That in itself is a miracle. Although I was never addicted to benzodiazepines. The problem is that it’s very expensive. Most insurance only pays for a year of MAT and sometimes not at all. I agree with most of what your saying. If it was behind the counter that would be great. I think a lot more people would seek treatment. The only thing I disagree with is worrying about children getting ahold of it because it’s just like any other kind of meds, RX or over the counter that’s easier to get. It’s up to the parents to keep it out of reach. I know of several people that this drug have saved their life’s. But I also know several people who can’t afford it. Some are dead now because they couldn’t afford the treatment. As far as the stigma that goes around addiction a lot of people have died because of it. And that’s a shame. They say addiction is a disease like diabetes, but society doesn’t treat it like that. A lot of people have killed themselves because of the psychological abuse that comes with addiction from other people. Me personally I never talk to a therapist or go to N/A meetings and I have never relapsed while on this medication. I don’t know if that would be the case if I got off it. If I have to be on it the rest of my life so be it. It’s very hard to overdose on and it has a very low chance for respiratory issues. You might have a problem with some opiate addicts just going to the pharmacist to get it because they can’t find heroin or oxycodone on the street. So they will have it not to get sick. As soon as they find more on the street they will go right back to heroin or oxycodone. People like that would need a 30 day rehab to help them. There will be people who would go see a pharmacist just to self medicate. That’s a tough one to overcome. But overall I think it would save a lot of lives. I know I would love that because it would save me a lot of money. To be honest I don’t think they would do that in the United States. But one could be hopeful.

    1. From a clinical perspective, why has alcohol become so celebrated the world over compared to various forms of opiates? When COVID 19 hit, all you heard in the news was how the restaurant (read: bars/ booze) industry was being hurt so badly?
      Alcohol , including hard liquor, is available in mass quantities no matter where you live. Grocery stores. Mom and pop corner stores. Nearly ever social event you can list has alcohol featured as a consumer “escape product”. It’s considered a food item !
      But everyone in the medical community knows the damage alcohol does to the body ,mind, and life in general. But it’s legal. It makes money for business. It is the chosen escape product. Essentially, you are allowed to drink yourself to an early death or at least a very miserable life of slow miserable decay. It’s the accepted personal choice of addiction that is legal. Anything derived from the opiate group, even in legal low dosing, is considered nothing less than a moral failing of the individual, the manufacturer, and the medical community.
      So, remember this 4th of July, go buy plenty of old Ethel Alcohol and do what society has deemed appropriate: Consume a lot of what is , when you boil it down, a cleaning fluid , capable of giving us all such wonderful dreams of rewards for our labored working lives ! God bless the booze ! And support your local economy!

  8. You know I’ve been on buprenorphine for yrs. I’m a dependant addict due to 8000 pain pills after a work related injuries. I trusted them Drs. For 13 yrs….
    Now Drs are charging 200.00 – 300.00 cash. Then pharmacies charge 300-500 for a 28 day supply. Why are Drs charging cash..???? Some pharmacies want 526.00 for a script…. Who can afford this? This is exactly why a great medication has become the new abused. As in people have to get help with this kind of money. Then those who help, want the meds. That keep enough to avoid being deathly sick. Then some of those folks by heroin because it’s cheaper. So now the drug problem is worse. Drs and pharmacies are killing the addicts and keeping families in a spot where they cannot take care of their families. Nobody is trying to make a buck anymore but many bucks. It makes me sick. And before anybody is quick to judge, you don’t know unless your sick with this horrible disease of addiction. They claimed pharmaceuticals are st fault and they are wrong. We need pharmaceutical to keep making the medications and Drs. And pharmacies to stop charging such high prices and taking advantage of the sick. If your not an addict you just don’t know how horrible this is and has become. Free health care. Free medications is not what I’m taking for. But you tell me how 500.00 + a month per person is right in any way at all. That’s more than my rent. Thank you to those who understand this.

  9. why is this so hard to get….I was perscribed it for depression during the day and night meds for sleep. that dr has retired and I can’t find any other doctor to prescribed it that is covered by Medicare Advantage/United insurance or even a low payment without insurance can you help me?

  10. I’ve been looking off ‘n on for four years and finally found a MAT doctor who takes my Ins. after 12 years of Oxycodone and Fentanyl, due to Fentanyl my thyroid and adrenals are trashed and methadone and Suboxone worsen it. I was told that doctors would prescribe it but pharmacies won’t fill it. I called my pharmacy and asked if that were true and she laughed and said, “huh? never heard of that.” Well the doc asked questions and then nervously said, “ok, well, we’re going to try this and see what happens.” Okay? We’ll try and push it through and hopefully there won’t be any problems and you can get your Subutex.

  11. What is the problem with people using it for chronic pain? Why do you think most of these people became addicts in the first place? I had been on fentanyl for years due to a chronic pain condition and felt awful every day. I finally decided to go into treatment and was started on Suboxone. Suboxone gave me my life back. I now take 6 mg a day and am almost pain free and enjoy my life every day. I have no desire to take more than what I need to control my pain. I work full time. I socialize with family and friends. I also lost my access to treatment so have to purchase it illegally. My first physician decided to quit prescribing because of the red tape and bureaucratic nightmare she had to jump through and my next physician retired. My next attempt failed because I apparently wasn’t an addict. The next one was a pain clinic that wanted me to wean off the drug because I apparently was an addict. But purchasing the drug illegally is horrifically expensive and obviously not consistent. Does this tell anyone that what the authors are suggesting is the most reasonable and obvious decision to make? It’s laughable to me that anyone have any concern at all about making a treatments available to those that need it or want it when it is a life changing and life saving drug with absolutely no downside. However I am also a proponent of making most illegal substances legal because those that have the desire will find a way to use or abuse them. Making anything illegal does NOTHING to control their use. It only provides massive profits to law enforcement and illegal drug dealers ending in violent crime. The fact that someone is so backward in their thinking that we should provide safe sights for drug use INSTEAD OF provide easy access to buprenorphine is astonishing. I agree with controlling it by pharmacists so that it is not causing accidental overdosage and unsafe conditions for others but to continue the current practice should be criminal.

  12. I waz a heroin addict You name it I’ve done it I lost everything my son my family my home licence my car my livelihood my dignity. I finally went to subutex clinic and got help I cannot take suboxone because of the naloxone but I do take Subutex 8 mg every day I have taken this for the last 6 years and it saved my life. I have kept a steady job I have had 2 more children get my son back have a wonderful husband have a home land we are about to buy a savings account good credit credit cards a happy normal life which i never thought was possible… This is all because Subutex saved and continues everyday to save my life, How I cannot imagine going back to The life I used to live. I wasent living but I am now and will Continue to take my medication for as long as I need to…. but I do pay at least $350 a month for appointment and medication which is not good.

  13. I don’t see it happening anytime soon But it would be a great idea just like a Narcan is available Keep someone from overdosing and dying But Got to get through the politics

  14. I just posted a comment, my story…..don’t know if they will actually post it. I am a 68-year-old physician with chronic pain who actually did research with buprenorphine back in 1991. I have been on a stable dose of 2 to 4 mg a day since the 1990s when it had to be compounded…..so, I know it to be safe.

    What really angers me is the exploitation I have seen even with physicians who are in recovery.

    I remember well when physicians first started being trained for their X numbers. Every shrink wanted to jump on the bandwagon and saw it as a ticket to increase their bottom line and wow did they do that. There was a time back in the 90s I was doing research and the thought to do what these guys started doing never would have crossed my mind, to milk an already disenfranchised group of people just to give them a medication to treat an illness in that sense no different than treating anything else….high blood pressure for instance. $350 per month. Yes, that is not right but believe me, I have seen a lot worse. Making patients come in every day for weeks to a month….forcing more groups than necessary….I agree, this is not rocket science. Just as a physician is legally able to prescribe the drug for chronic pain he should be able to prescribe it to treat addiction.

    And, let’s not forget the difficulty many people have filling the prescriptions.

    As I said, there was a time when I was getting it from a compounding pharmacy, people I knew. However, when the FDA was considering its approval for its present indication, they prevented pharmacies from compounding it. This forced me to purchase the then-brand name, proprietary drug and it cost a fortune!

  15. I am a 68-year-old physician who developed interstitial cystitis at the age of 30. It is a very painful disorder of the bladder which at the time was thought to occur primarily in women. When it first hit me, I would have the urge, pain, to urinate every 15 minutes. The better way to describe it is severe pain which is relieved upon urinating.

    I managed for years without taking any kind of narcotic. I gave myself instillations of DMSO, a solvent, in my bladder for years. I underwent hydrostatic dilations of my bladder under anesthesia for years.

    The irony of the situation is that at the age of 26 I became my first patient when I diagnosed myself with polycythemia vera. At the time it was thought to have a median survival of 15 years.

    Never would I have thought the IC would be the real problem. Why? Think about it. You get up every 15 minutes at night your sleep becomes severely disrupted. When your deep delta sleep and REM are affected, bad things hapen! Eventually, it led to chronic fatigue and type II diabetes.

    Though I trained as an internist, I fell into a job as medical director for a substance abuse program and ultimately became certified in the field. Around 1991 I became aware of Kostin’s landmark article on the use of buprenorphine for addiction. The drug was already available as an injectable and was scheduled only as a V.

    I had a compounding pharmacy it became commercially available. (It was done on a very small, limited scale.) I came to fully understand the rather unusual characteristics of the agent the details of which are beyond the scope of this post.

    Over time, the sequellae of interstitial cystitis became too much. At the time the problem with IC got out of hand I was licensed in two States each with very different attitudes towards physician use of narcotics. One of them at this point in time actually has recovering physicians on buprenorphine and even methadone. The other jurisdiction has what one might call draconian attitudes. The director of the impaired physicians in that jurisdiction was a ruthless guy who insisted that docs give urines 3 times per week at 60 dollars a shot. I had also become a medical review officer and knew that this was not necessary. Random urines a few times per month are all that is necessary.

    Why did he insist on 3 urines per week at 60 bucks a pop? Eventually, it became known that he was getting a kickback from the lab for each urine. This is the way it goes even with physician addicts who are a disenfranchised group who can be easily exploited and taken advantage of. I could tell stories for hours the horrors, the careers and lives ruined, even a friend and colleague who wound up committing suicide because of this sort of thing.

    The long and short of it is that eventually, I wound up on buprenorphine. It was prescribed for me and compounded. However, it caused havoc with my career because of the insane attitudes and ignorance of the medical board. I have been taking a stable dose of 2 to 4 mg a day since the 1990s! I have not escalated the dose. It has been prescribed legally by the physician writing on the Rx, For Chronic Pain.

    Would I be happier if I did not have to take it? Absolutely, just as I wish I did not have to take blood pressure or diabetic meds but taking them beats the alternative.

    I will close by saying that the other bit of insanity is that I do not think we have an opioid epidemic or crisis. This has been going on for years and is nothing new. Most people don’t have a clue that the CIA has maintained a slush fund for years going back to Vietnam, Iran/Contra, and now Afghanistan. The Taliban was burning the opium fields. Now we have US troops guarding them.
    That is the real reason we are still there….remember the golden triangle? Afghanistan is one of those countries as are Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. I suspect most readers are not old enough to remember all of this. I am and remember all of it all too well.

    The world, including our government, is ruled by psychopaths. If you are smart, you won’t get caught up in the left-right paradigm which deflects from the truth about the deep state and shadow government who really are a bunch of gangsters, literally. The Intelligence Community (IC) and the mob go way back to after world war II when the CIA was created.

    Yes, we may have a problem with opioid drugs licit or illicit but there are far more people killed on the roads from traffic accidents as well as dying of all sorts of other problems. But, these other modes of death don’t have the salacious flavor craved by the MSM.

  16. Good morning, my name is Peggy from Nigeria, I had kidney stones and I was given pentazocine injections I got addicted to it, now I can’t stop I tried going to rehab I relasbed, now my relationship is going down, financially I can’t get the drugs please what I do and how can be helped I no need to stop for the sake of my kids

  17. I live in Maynardville TN and have been on Suboxone on and off for 6 years and then been on it straight for 7 years. I have a bad liver and feels like I get worse everytime I take my suboxone. I was wondering if anyone knew any place that would write subtex in Maynardville or Knoxville without having to be pregnant?

  18. Too many people would abuse it and most of those people would more than likely die of an overdose from it or mix it with benzodiazepines or some other drug that slows the heart rate down too much and overdose from that. Getting it from a clinic is the best way to go. The only problem with that is it’s too expensive

  19. I was given Percocet for years from my doctors for cervical spondylitis. If you take opioids for a long period of time, you will become addicted. I saw a segment on my local news about a Duke University Professor who became addicted to Percocet and eventually started buying on the street . She started taking Buprenorphine and it changed her life. After a good cry, I made the decision to get help for my addiction. On my next visit to my doctor I requested to stop taking Percs and expressed my interest to try Buprenorphine. I was told it wouldn’t help me and wrote out my normal prescriptions . I never filled those scripts. I found a doctor that would subscribe me the Buprenorphine. I had to go about a week without my pain medication and I thought I was going to die. It was the worst feeling I had ever felt and everyday was more of the same until I got the Buprenorphine. Once I had it ,I was back to my old self. Jogging, exercising, enjoying life without always thinking about how I would get more percs . I don’t understand how people can be so inhuman and uncaring when it comes to people with addiction. A lot of us trusted our doctors to do what was best for our condition and got dependent on opioids. Yes , I have taken Buprenorphine everyday for 5 years but I try everyday to take as little as possible. It’s very hard to think and cope on your own with addiction . Making this medication more available will help people come out of that fog and give them the opportunity to get their life on track again.
    I will add though , because I wasn’t aware of it …. but if you start Buprenorphine the chances of getting any life insurance is slim to none. That’s another subject but very wrong in my opinion. Thank you for the article, I think it is a great idea! It definitely saved my life also.

  20. I was on opioids for 30 years, didn’t miss a day. Quit cold turkey. Went through 36 Dey’s of hell. And after thet could only sleep 0nce every 4th or 5th night. After 56 days I went yo a doctor and he put me in Suboxone. One a day, but I found out I could take one every three days and get by. I did that for two and a half years with no problems. I recently met a lady inThailand and moved there. I was only allowed to bring in a 30 day supply. I stretched them out to one film tab every 4 days. Thought I was being so responsible and would have only minor withdrawals if any at all. I was so wrong. The withdrawals are not as bad as coming off the opioids, but they’re way to fame close. I went 8 days and nights with no sleep. I’m through the worst of it now, except still have the terrible feelings in my legs , and only sleeping about every 4th night. I’d give anything to be able to get Suboxone here. But doesn’t seem to be a way.

  21. Roger I hope this helps you.

    Alternative to Suboxone in Thailand

    The best equivalent of Suboxone in Thailand called DBL Naloxone. Analogue has exactly the same .
    You can buy DBL Naloxone (alternative to Suboxone) in pharmacies of Thailand.

    1. This is a dangerous, erroneous suggestion. DBL Naloxone appears to be the brand name for one supplier of Narcan. it is injectable only. That’s the only way to get narcan into your system. There is no hint that it contains buprenorphine. Why? This is simply a classic reversal agent for urgent opioid overdose. Use will put a person habituated to opiates into severe immediate withdrawal whether they are using opiates for pain or for an addiction craving. Period.

  22. This is long overdue!!! I mean come on either you’re ready to switch gears or you’re not. Suboxone is life saving no matter how you look at it, they would’ve saved my house, car and years if I had access to them but unfortunately they were for the wealthiest addicts when they first came out. I’ve suffered with addiction since I was 14 and I didn’t ask to be this way I’ve never stolen or hurt anyone for my habit except me and the time I lost with my children and family. Just make it so we don’t need a script, I’m trying to go on with my life but in Indiana you have to go every week and it kinda feels like I’m going to a dealer after I get paid. It’s to much red tape and takes away from my mental/physical health because after going once a week for subs who has the time or energy to go to any other doctor. The urine thing is a joke I’m off opiates isn’t that the point the checking of urine for liquor, coke or whatever is unnecessary. Those are the lesser evils of this miserable epidemic. I’m thankful for Suboxone and I know it would help so many other people if the access was easier, the point is to save lives but you know Big Pharma has to get their cut.

  23. The problem with Buprenorphine is it takes 48 to 72 hours to start due to heroin being practically non existent and patients testing positive for Fentanyl only. With so many forms of synthetic Fentanyl out there. What addict wants to wait sick for 72 hours to start Buprenorphine to get relief? It is barbaric. Something needs to change ASAP. This is total bullshit.

  24. I agree as long as the the subutex is closely monitored why not have it more available. But everyone is talking about stigma with addicts….just think about what people in chronic pain are going through. These are the forgotten people in the opioid crisis.

    People are committing suicide, pushed to the streets to find pain relief. …we need to think of them!! They are being killed off by being tapered off their pain medication. And something should really be done!!

  25. I have been struggling with opiate and opioid addiction for what seems over half of my life. Decades I have struggled with not only opiate/opioids but other drugs as well. When I was in my late 20’s I went to a pain management clinic, I had been in car accidents and working on concrete had done a lot of damage to my back. The doctor did not take xrays or really check into my story. She seemed more concerned about me not talking to reporters outside of the office if I were approached by them, and what to do and say if police pulled me over after leaving. She started me with 90 10mg Lortab, within a few months I told her I felt I needed more because the pain would come back sooner and so I would take another. I don’t think this was exactly true, I believe I enjoyed how they made me feel at work, the euphoria, I was always so happy, they did not make me tired they gave me wonderful energy. Instead of her questioning me, she switched me to 120 10mg Percocet. This worked for almost 4 months but soon, again I was telling her I felt I needed more. She kept me on the Percocet at the same dose but added 30 15 mg Roxycontin. Now I will say, this was amazing, my tolerance was so high, I felt nothing. I recall my younger brother say, “if you are in a bad car accident or something, they won’t legally be able to give you enough pain meds to get you stabilized. I did not care about that. Almost a year after my first visit to this doctor, she was shut down. No warning just one day doors were closed. I went home, panicking, trying to find a new doctor to see me. I did not have insurance and most pain management clinics were also now closed. I could not find a doctor to take me once they knew I had been going to the pain clinic that was shut down. This led me to the streets to find pills, it was awful. I know it was my actions that led me to this but I did not realize how hard withdrawal symptoms from opiates really were. This lasted almost a year with me experiencing withdrawal several times. The pills were expensive but I remember one time being so sick and so depressed I thought about throwing myself in front of a car so I could be hit, I figured the worst case scenario was I would die from my injuries and the pain would stop or I would be admitted to the ER and the pain would stop. Even now that seems so crazy to me that I felt that way. Eventually I found a suboxone doctor, I had spoke to a few who were so very rude to me, no compassion what so ever, I did not want them to pity me just treat me like a person. I never came across heroin but if I had I would have used it for sure. I have paid so much money out of pocket over the past several years, I could probably buy a nice house. The doc visit is $300/ month and the script for 56 subs is a little over $160, I don’t take the film but the tablets. That is $460 a month. Honestly the price is well worth it, it has allowed me to have my life back. But my goodness, most addicts don’t have that kind of money and why in the world is it so expensive anyway. The pain clinic was $150 and the first med script, Lortabs was like $32 for 90 of them. So around $180/month. I just find that to be absurd.

  26. I do not agree it’s a CRUTCH, just another way to keep big PHARMACEUTICAL companies RICH, seriously how can you DRAIN the financial life of a DEAD addict?

  27. Helllo, I was a heavy heroin/opiate user for many many years. Of and on methadone clinics. Finally I chose to stop and I went to a doctor that prescribes Suboxone. For the first 3 years I had insurance, although the doctor only accepted cash. I have completely leveled out and have no cravings whatsoever. Recently I lost my job and insurance, on top of that hurricane IDA just hit down here. The office visit is an astonishing $225.00 and the prescription costs $725.00, that is $1000.00 a month with fuel and time. I have gone broke filling my prescription each month even though there is a tablet Suboxone that costs $100.00. The doctor WILL NOT allow me to choose this life saving and cheaper generic tablet over the much much more expensive generic film. Is this even legal? How can I, as an American citizen NOT be able to choose a life saving medication that I can afford?? Is there a reason why ?? As of today I have no medication, no power, no food, nothing. Please, if anyone has any information on this subject send it my way. I do not know what to do, she will NOT allow me to get the same exact medication that costs approximately $600.00 less than the strip. How can this be ethical? How can this be legal? To clarify, this is suboxone tablets not subutex. This is a huge scam and I fear what I may do to get the medication. I live in Louisiana and have turned my life around, the future looks bleak to me now. I do not know if I can fight this or if I should report the doctor. The suboxone tablets work well and cost so much less. How and why is this happening? I thought this was a free country especially when it comes to spending money and choosing which to buy. Help Please!

    1. Check the difference in prices at Goodrx.com. it sounds like you are being badly ripped off. The active agent is the buprenoprhine. adding naloxone does zero, zip nada for you. It is added to supposedly keep you from shooting up buprennorhine. It is not absorbed orally. But, you will be charged anywhere from 4 to 10x the price of a simple buprenoprhine tablet.

      Let me give you and example of Big Pharma ( and you local pharmacy) ripoff: a patient was on 2 mg buprenorphine 2x/day. went to pharmacy to fill. Pharmacist – “that will be $275.” Patent asked why so expensive. Pharmacist – “just a minute” (no other verbal exchange. Pharmacist came back: “That’s $120.” ?? Why the drop? Why the initial price gouge? We don’t become outraged enough to force them to stop. rest of the story. I suggested look on goodrx.com. Price for exact same rx: $60. I asked if he could cut pills. He said yes. Rx for 60 8mg tabs – $80. Result – reduction from $275/month to $20/month.

  28. William, that doctor MUST be reported!!! There has to be a representative or a group in your state or your region in Louisiana that is with the war against drugs in our country. Actually you could even try contacting one or both of the doctors that are in the above article (Dr Roy or Dr Stein) to see if they can direct you to a doctor in your area that will HELP you and NOT HARM you which is exactly what your “doctor” is doing to you which is unethical and criminal!!! Contact Boston University Addiction Medicine Department where these 2 doctors are from. You are clearly being harmed by the doctor treating you. And im certain she must be harming others that she “treats”. Please my friend, there is help for you, your life is a precious life that God blessed you with and He will continue to bless you and direct you to the right doctor that will help you. I am praying Psalm 91 for you…please read and pray Psalm 91 over your life. Try to hook up with a Bible believing church near you, they may have an addiction program that will welcome you in and help you. Please do not go back to using! Not only have you saved your life by making the decision to stop using and going on suboxone, but always remember the stuff being sold on the streets is pure poison made with cheap toxic chemicals and Fentanyl that will kill you. Please my friend, search for the right doctor, they are out there and will help you. You are in my prayers. God will never let you down, God is the Great Pyschian and will direct you to a compassionate, caring doctor.

  29. While I have no problem with its use in additiction on principle, I find it frustrating and unfair that this is the attitude for treating a chronic illness like addiction, but not for those with the chronic illness of chronic pain.

    BOTH groups deserve compassionate, effective treatment that’s easy to access.
    But trying to find a pain management doctor willing to prescribe who’s not terrified by the DEA is almost impossible. As a result, chronic pain patients have been largely left to suffer, to lose function and independence, or commit suicide.

    Because of the propaganda surrounding opioids, chronic pain patients are being overwhelmingly harmed. The 2016 CDC opioid guidelines have resulted in huge cuts (between 44-63%) in prescription opioids to chronic pain patients. Even a 12% cut in dying hospice patients. We are at a 20 year low in prescribing them. Yet overdoses have continued to rise over 1040%. Why?

    Because prescription opioids were never the problem. Addiction rates have remained steady for decades. There is no opioid crisis.

    There is an overdose crisis – caused by illicit fentanyl added to street drugs. If bupe will help prevent those deaths, fine.

    But when the VA cut opioids by 63%, suicide rates for rural vets rose 75%. Forced tapers, cut offs, and firing pain patients is not the answer. Labeling every chronic pain patient who actually gets relief from opioids as “opioid use disorder” isn’t the answer.

    And I do have concerns. As others have pointed out, the withdrawal & side effects from these meds can be as bad or worse than heroin. Anti opioid zealots like PROP have made a fortune testifying against the Sacklers and big Pharma. Yet they appear to be pushing Suboxone and bupe just as hard as oxycontin ever was, not always being entirely honest about the hard withdrawals or side effects.

    1. Excellent points.

      My reaction: “It is worse than you think.” You are trying to obtain rational health care in what is essentially a police state. This is not an exaggeration. It is also complex, convoluted and designed to be that way. You have no idea of the intimidation, criminalization and SLAPP-like tactics employed by the DEA. Check civil asset forfeiture and administrative law. Both designed to threaten to deprive your physician of his/her property and to deny constitutional rights without convicting or often even prosecuting a real or fabricated crime. Books have been written on the criminalization of medicine. They are not an exaggeration. In this environment, virtually all physicians will opt to protect themselves. They simply can’t afford to consider the patient. It is Orwellian, Kafkaesque. Without exaggeration. Why, you may ask. Watch a couple of YouTube clips by ex DEA agents, especially member of L.E.A.P, describing the utter failure of the DEA at their original charge.

      DEA is one of the 18 spy agencies of the US government under the Director of National Intelligence. Check https://www.dni.gov)

      Why, you may ask, is a spy agency in charge of licensing for writing of certain drugs when we have medical/health agencies (FDA, CDC, HHS, state medical boards) with health orientation and staffed with scientists and medical experts who know this stuff inherently better and are not systemically reinforced to find criminals or make criminals if they can’t find enough of them to make their quotas for advancement. DEA also dictates manufacturing quotas. They also seriously misinform, mostly through media hysteria carefully crafted. There is more to this, but that is enough to give you the idea of why pain patients can’t get care that has been, in principle, around for 3,500 years. These meds have been around for 3,500 years because they work. And without long term harm to organ systems. Yes I know there’s overdose, but that’s not the point. You can be brain dead from an overdose of otherwise life-saving insulin also.

    2. I completely, absolutely agree! When I got off methadone, I went through three plus months of full blown withdrawals. Post Acute Withdrawal, my butt. I went to a place in Florida that detoxed me off of something like 150mgs of methadone per day, that I got from a methadone clinic. This detox center did it in three weeks and I found out later, their methods are illegal. They told me I would walk out of there feeling great, then gave me a small dose of buprenorphine before I left for the airport and a pamphlet about PAWS. That was the longest, worst flight I’ve ever endured. I had no idea what was going to happen to me afterward and they never would return my calls.

      I also didn’t know that addiction gets worse as you get older. But, I was doing great after those horrible withdrawals went away. I believe I did great because of how much I suffered. But, only two months past those horrible months, I had horrible abdominal pain, knew I needed surgery, and it took a month to find someone to do the surgery. All the while, I was in so much pain, as much as I didn’t want to take anything I had to. I had the surgery, which was much needed, and wasn’t in pain afterward. So, I thought I could easily detox like I had done many times when I was younger. (I only ever took prescription medication for pain from a car accident.) But, after detoxing, I had major cravings for the first time. So, I went to a Kaiser buprenorphine clinic. I’ve been great taking buprenorphine ever since.

      Sorry if that went a bit off topic. But, when I did have the pain from the accident, I was labeled by most doctors as drug seeking. Yeah, I was seeking medication to not be in so much pain and looking for a doctor who cared she believed me. I just ended up dependent past the point of when the pain went away, years later.

  30. This is a good idea and not, at the same time.

    It took me many doctors before I finally found the right buprenorphine doctor for me. He’s amazing and I’ve been his patient for years.

    But, in my experience, it’s rare to find a pharmacist who doesn’t judge me and who isn’t a whole lot more strict than they need to be. Most pharmacists aren’t very nice to me and it’s because I’m taking this medication. If you saw me, you never would know. I’m not the stereotypical “addict” (which is also horrible in its own right) I’m not covered in tattoos and piercings, rude, with anarchist-type behavior. (I do not believe that to be the actual look and personality of most addicts, it’s just a bad stereotype).

    Anyway, it took me many pharmacies before I found one I was comfortable with, who treated me like a person and did not judge me for the medication I take. I’m sure that most pharmacists don’t treat an overweight person rudely for having diabetes.

    Also, my doctor is constantly going to addiction conferences and keeping up to date on it. He’s an expert. Would pharmacists have to go back to school to learn what addiction truly is, along with courses to teach them to have a cordial “bedside manner” and gain empathy for this disease? Would they give their own personal cell phone number to their patients like a lot of addiction management doctors do? No. I highly doubt it.

    I was actually diagnosed with an endorphin deficiency, back in 2009. I believe that’s one reason why addiction has skyrocketed. Do people only have serotonin issues? Is that the only chemical in the brain that can have too much or too little? No. There are many other chemicals, obviously, and like serotonin, people can have different chemical imbalances.

    I wish I could go back in time to get my doctorate and do my thesis on endorphin deficiencies and addiction. I did grow up in a family in the medical field. I would bet, those who continued taking opiates because they “finally felt normal” are the ones with a deficiency that opiates fill, if you will.

    I have specific symptoms that I had my entire life which didn’t go away until I started taking methadone. I’ve since switched to buprenorphine and now to sublocade. But, since the time I became stable on methadone, it was shocking how all of those symptoms disappeared almost completely. Just like taking an antidepressant doesn’t prevent depression 100% of the time, my symptoms were just about gone. Some come back briefly but never have any come back full force.

    So, I feel that’s something that needs to be addressed, researched, really taken seriously. As opposed to thinking every single person becomes addicted because they enjoy the high and the “exit” from the world around them. Yes, that’s a reason for some. But, it’s not the reason for everyone’s addiction.

    Find the reason behind it, whether it’s PTSD or an actual chemical deficiency and then people could be medically treated depending on that basis or foundation of their addiction.

  31. Suboxone is “safe” as long as you only use it to ween off of the drugs that you are addicted to. And there is a euphoria you feel for the first 2-5 years, depending on your body. Sub can be used properly to help addicts. The problem lies after you no longer need it physically. It does help with pain in my experience. My problem is being on it for too long. 12 years is way too long and I am attempting to ween my dose down with help from my Dr.
    Eventually though it does leave you a shell of the person you were. It takes away all the good and happy feelings you normally have. Excitement for things dissipates. You need to talk to a therapist regularly to sort out your demons and get back on track. I am just giving you my 2 cents on this subject. If you are going to use Suboxone or generic Bupenoprhine/Naloxone please please only use it as long as you have to. Best of luck to you all

  32. I think it’s a great idea. The problem is no one talking about the reciprocated withdrawals that come along with it. Fentanyl can stay in your system much longer than a regular opiate which means you’d have a bunch of extremely sick attics in the waiting room at pharmacies taking their dose possibly throwing up to save your stool least without getting into any gross or nasty details. I can remember thinking that I had been off fentanyl for 48 hours and I took a 2 suboxone strip and it put me into the worst reciprocated withdrawals I’ve ever had in my life. Trust and believe if you don’t know about reciprocated with drawers and you think that this is a churro it definitely is not because the first thing you want to do when you start going through reciprocated withdrawals is run out and get more fentanyl, heroin, or any opiate that can reverse the effects of precipitated withdrawal.

  33. In order for this to work and it’s not a bad idea but for it to work you have to be in full withdrawals. If you are using Fentanyl and you don’t know it and you feel really really bad but maybe you’ve never been in full withdrawals and you take even a Subutex it will put you into it reciprocated withdrawals. This is the worst type of withdrawal you will ever want to go through in your life because anything and everything on your receptors is ripped off all at once and you go through the worst time of your life. I just can’t see a bunch of sick with drawing Haddix waiting in a pharmacy to have there Subutex or Suboxone administered and then eventually someone’s going to start having reciprocated withdrawals in the waiting room and there’s nothing they can do for you. The only thing you can do is go back out in the streets and buy more until to push out the Subutex, Suboxone, methadone or whatever else they have now.

  34. I scanned previous comments, so forgive me if i missed seeing it, i have yet to hear the conversation about long term side affects of subutex/suboxone. Nor is there much research suggesting there is not any. I have been on subutex consistently since 2016, and have not used since. I was pregnant then and couldnt withdraw from heroin cold turkey. For the first few years i saw no issue at all remaining on subutex, why would i? My son is now 5, me and his father both got sober and stayed, we always busted our asses from nothing to survive and take care of our son (with much help in the beginning that we are eternally grateful for) we live almost like productive citizens of society. While i stayed home to care for our son, his dad started from scratch working jobs that went no where and paid peanuts. After 3 years, he did get lucky (lucky only bc he had no drivers license still and is a convicted felon from a decade ago) because his work ethic is apparent and he will out work a most men, even younger than him. At this job he went from 15$ to 25$ in the first year and also the head guy to go run other jobs for the small business. We already have his Year To Date income at 100k this year. I know that is not a super high paying job in this day in age, but from where we started 5 years ago when i was pregnant ? I still sometimes can’t believe the progress we both made. I absolutely contribute some of our success to the fact we were on subutex and could function without the desire to ever test those waters again. Its never even a thought or option to us, we know we would lose our son and be homeless, in jail, if not dead. Here is where the catch comes though.. shortly after having my son i began sleeping non stop, without being able to wake up even if fifty alarms and my kids dad tried waking me. Followed by quite a few more ailments over the years that still have every doctor scratching their head and me with no answers. My quality of life is like 75% at age 28. Its sad and even sadder for my son who watches his mom pass out in less than a minute flat if i sit down at any point of the day. I myself wouldn’t be able to hold a job, only due to the condition of my health right now. I miss getting my son to preschool and doctor appointments at times because i sleep through them. My legs stayed swelled for a whole year 2 years ago, i randomly drop 20 lbs with no change in diet or exercise, more recently my face will swell. Sometimes embarrassingly huge. I never would of thought maybe the subutex was causing some or all of these things until i spoke to my fiances cousin, she said it was so strange she was the same way years ago when she was on subutex and slept forever until she got off of it and has been fine since. After hearing that i began researching anything i could online and found a few things that tell me it possibly could be the case. As well as 2 different type doctors recently suggesting it could be as well, but we wont know until i obviously arent taking them any longer. I am weening now and am at 1 and a quarter subutex a day. So the point i am trying to make is what are these prescription drugs long term affects? Do the doctors or anyone else even have enough research or studies to know? Please if anyone has or knows amyone with a similar story with subutex and their health, i would love to hear about it.

  35. I have been on the pills for 2 years and all of the sudden my dr tells me that insurance companies won’t pay for the pills now…WTF??? Before they stopped paying for the strips and now its the pills…REALLY MAKE UP YOUR FLIPPIN MINDS FOLKS!!! I can’t stand these AWFUL tasting strips that still leave me feeling the YUCKS of withdrawals! LEAVE US ALONE AND LET US HEAL WITHOUT TOYING WITH US!!!!!

  36. I chose to go with subutex in place of pain pills for my pain management voluntarily. I get more pain relief from it than any pain pill I ever taken without feeling suicidal if I happen to run out a couple days early. Unfortunately for me I have a significant allergic reaction to Naloxone every time I take it that makes suboxone not an option for me. Needless to say its not a good feeling to have your dr tell you that he couldn’t prescribe you the same medication he had been for the past 8 years successfully with not even one bad drug screen. He said that I would have to just deal with my air passages closing up and the rash or I would have to stop as of that day without tapering off. I had no idea they could even do that to someone on a maintenance medication like that but i promise you they did. I was told that I might be able to get a Dr. from the neighboring state to continue my treatment but he no longer could and basically pushed me out the door. For about 11 or 12 years now I have come straight out of pocket with an obscene amount of money just to continue with the treatment that was proven successful for over a decade, not to mention everything else that is mandatory in order to fill your prescription. I am lucky enough that I have been able to fulfill all of this unnecessary criteria so that im not just another number in the opioid crisis in the U.S. My heart goes out to all the friends and families of a number who just literally didnt have the means to get it fulfilled. I can promise you it happens a lot more than you think obviously and for what? What is in it for you? Because our lives depend on it.

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