How to Find a Suboxone Doctor Near You

Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone) is an FDA-approved medication prescribed to treat opioid use disorder (OUD). It is the first medication for opioid use disorder that can be prescribed and dispensed in a physician’s office by a Suboxone doctor, significantly increasing access to treatment.1 Suboxone can be prescribed by a variety of providers, including medical doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, certified nurse specialists, certified nurse midwives, and certified registered nurse anesthetists, but a waiver may be required.2

Suboxone Doctors: Who Can Prescribe Suboxone?

There are a variety of qualified medical professionals that can legally prescribe Suboxone, such as: 2,3

  • Doctors of Medicine (MDs): Doctors of medicine are licensed physicians who have graduated from an accredited medical school.
  • Nurse Practitioners (NPs): Nurse practitioners are certified nurses who have graduated with either a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).
  • Physician Assistants (PAs): Physician assistants are master’s level clinicians who practice under doctors of medicine.
  • Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNSs): Clinical nurse specialists are registered nurses who have obtained their Master of Science in Nursing. CNSs differ from NPs in that they usually focus more on research, administration, or program development whereas nurse practitioners focus more on direct patient care.
  • Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs): Certified nurse-midwives are a type of advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) that specialize in providing healthcare for women.
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs): Certified registered nurse anesthetists are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) with graduate-level education who can provide anesthetics to patients in a variety of settings.

Can Any Doctor Prescribe Suboxone?

If you are wondering, “Can any doctor prescribe Suboxone?,” the answer is no.

To prescribe and dispense Suboxone, qualified medical practitioners must complete and send a buprenorphine waiver notice of intent (NOI) to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).1 The NOI must contain all the provider’s credentials and certifications as well as confirm that the practitioner will not exceed the limit of patients.2

In 2021, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released new buprenorphine practice guidelines that allow medical practitioners to obtain a waiver to treat up to 30 patients without undergoing any further training or counseling. This was done to increase patient access to treatment. Under this exemption, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, certified nurse midwives, clinical nurse specialists, and certified registered nurse anesthetists are required to be supervised by or work collaboratively with a DEA-registered physician.3

If any qualified medical provider wants to treat more than 30 patients, they must undergo specialized training, counseling, and other psychosocial services. The training varies in length depending on the provider:2

  • Physician buprenorphine waiver training (8 hours)
  • Physician assistant buprenorphine waiver training (24 hours)
  • Nurse (NP, CNS, CNM, CRNA) buprenorphine waiver training (24 hours)

Medical providers who undergo this training and counseling can obtain a waiver to treat up to 100 patients at one time. To treat 100 patients in their first year, they must meet the following requirements:2

  • Physicians must hold either a board certification in addiction psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology or a board certification in addiction medicine by the American Board of Preventive Medicine.
  • The practitioner must provide medication-assisted treatment in a “qualified practice setting.”

After the first year at the 100-patient limit, those who meet the requirements above can apply to increase their patient limit to 275. In some emergencies, medical providers may be able to apply to temporarily increase their limit to 275 for six months.2

Why Suboxone is Prescribed

Suboxone is prescribed for the treatment of pain or opioid use disorder. It may be given to those with more severe addictions or a history of relapse. It is prescribed as a substitution treatment where the patient takes Suboxone, a partial opioid agonist as a substitution for a stronger, full-acting agonist like heroin.4,5

When prescribed Suboxone, you will take it regularly for a period and taper off it gradually to avoid painful, uncomfortable, and sometimes severe withdrawal symptoms that can occur when detoxing from opioids.4

Some common opioid withdrawal symptoms include: 6

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Agitation
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal Cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Runny nose
  • Sweating
  • Yawning
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Increased tearing
  • Goosebumps
  • Dilated pupils

Where to Find a Suboxone Doctor

If you think Suboxone may be the right treatment for you, a great first step is to ask your primary care provider. They might be able to prescribe Suboxone for you right in their office or recommend a Suboxone doctor for you.

You may also wish to check SAMHSA’s online directory called the “Buprenorphine Practitioner Locator.” Every Suboxone doctor has to obtain approval from SAMHSA to prescribe and dispense suboxone. However, not all providers are registered with the directory.7 But, it is still a great place to start, and you can search for a provider by your location.

Online Suboxone Doctors and Clinics

Due to federal regulation changes during the COVID-19 pandemic, Suboxone doctors can now prescribe Suboxone to patients without an initial in-person evaluation. Before the pandemic, many people in rural areas may not have had access to treatment. Now, many clinics offer telehealth options for Suboxone treatment, and often people can receive same-day prescriptions.8

Online Suboxone doctors and clinics can eliminate many barriers to treatment including:8

  • Appointment wait time
  • Access to transportation
  • Childcare
  • History of experiencing discrimination or stigma in medical settings

These federal regulations are only temporary emergency authorization and are scheduled to end after the pandemic. However, many clinicians and researchers are advocating for online Suboxone treatment to remain an option. One recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found no significant difference in patients receiving online Suboxone treatment versus those receiving services in person.9

Finding an Online Suboxone Doctor

If you are interested in online Suboxone treatment, you will undergo a similar process to find a doctor as you would if you were seeking in-person treatment. You will still want to make sure that your online Suboxone doctor has received the SAMHSA waiver and is legally able to provide Suboxone treatment.

You may start by contacting your primary care physician for referrals, or you may choose to search for online Suboxone doctors using a search engine.

Continuing Opioid Addiction Treatment

It is important to remember that while Suboxone is medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder, it often works best in conjunction with behavioral therapies and other recovery services.4

To prevent relapse, it is best to continue care even after weaning off Suboxone. Some treatment and rehab options that you may consider during or after completion of Suboxone treatment include:

  • Inpatient rehab
  • Outpatient rehab
  • Individual psychotherapy
  • Group counseling
  • Family therapy
  • 12-step programs
  • Support groups

For more information on available treatment options, call 800-662-4357 to speak with an addiction treatment specialist.

Resources

  1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). (2022, April 21). Buprenorphine.
  2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). (2022, April 21). Become a Buprenorphine Waivered Practitioner.
  3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2021, April 27). HHS Releases New Buprenorphine Practice Guidelines, Expanding Access to Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder
  4. Kumar, R., Viswanath, O., Saadabadi, A. (2021, August 6). Buprenorphine. StatPearls.
  5. U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2022, January 12). Buprenorphine Sublingual and Buccal (opioid dependence)
  6. Berger, F. (2020 May 10). Opiate and Opioid Withdrawal. U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  7. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Buprenorphine Practitioner Locator.
  8. Wang, L., Weiss, J., Ryan, E., Waldman, J., Rubin, S., & Griffith, J. (2021, January 15). Telemedicine increases access to buprenorphine initiation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 124, 108272.
  9. Barksy, B., Busch, A., Patel, S., Mehrotra, A., & Hushkamp, H. (2022, January 6). Use of Telemedicine for Buprenorphine Inductions in Patients with Commercial Insurance or Medicare AdvantageJournal of the American Medical Association, 5(1).

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