Buprenorphine (Suboxone) became available for the outpatient treatment of narcotic addiction (opiate dependence) in 2003.
This medication is intended to reduce cravings for narcotics. In this way, it is similar to methadone. It may not be as effective as methadone for many individuals, but it does have a number of advantages.
The advantages of this treatment include the following:
*Office visits once to twice a month instead of daily visits to a methadone clinic.
*Significantly reduced risk of narcotic overdose.
*Significantly reduced withdrawal (abstinence syndrome; “dope sickness”) than with methadone.
It is important to understand that this medication is not for everyone who abuses narcotic drugs. It is only for those who are currently addicted to narcotics and have been unable to stop “using” despite efforts to do so (e.g. rehabs, NA attendance, etc.).
Buprenorphine Treatment for Narcotic Addiction
Addiction specialists consider addiction a chronic disease and treat it accordingly. We know that some individuals are more likely to become addicts because of hereditary and environmental factors. Addiction changes brain chemistry. An addict may first use to get “high,” but after a while, the addiction “takes over” those parts of the brain that control natural cravings and the addict needs drugs to avoid withdrawal or to feel “normal.”
Abstinence is best but if an addict is unable to stop using, buprenorphine treatment may be appropriate. This drug can be used for detoxification or for maintenance. When used for maintenance, it binds to the same sites in the brain as narcotics (heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, etc). It reduces craving, allowing the addict to become less “obsessed” with drugs. The addict will then be more likely to return to normal activities such as work, school, parenting, etc.
Recovery is, however, far more than just staying clean. Recovery involves emotional and spiritual growth. To recover, an addict must come to terms with the past and make a serious effort to heal emotional and spiritual wounds. Buprenorphine alone does not provide emotional or spiritual healing. It can free the addict from cravings and help the addict begin the long and hard process of recovery.
Buprenorphine Treatment at Marquette General Behavioral Health
If you are interested in being considered for buprenorphine treatment at Marquette General Behavioral Health, please review the Program Requirements and Patient Responsibilities listed below, then contact us at (906) 225-3994 or
1 (800) 562-9753, ext. 3994, to request an application or click on the links below to print.
Applicants must be actively involved in substance abuse counseling in order to be considered for admission.
Returned applications are reviewed by a committee of UP Health System - Marquette Behavioral Health addiction professionals, usually within one week. Following a review, applicants will be contacted by phone or mail. All applicants are provided with treatment recommendations which may or may not include participation in our buprenorphine treatment program.
Please be aware that we have a limited number of patients that we can accept for treatment with buprenorphine. Applications will be reviewed against established criteria to identify those who are most likely able to benefit from treatment with buprenorphine.
BUPRENORPHINE TREATMENT PATIENT RESPONSIBILITIES
Store Medication Properly. All medications must be kept out of the reach of children. It also must be safeguarded from inadvertent use by other adults or intentional use by those who abuse drugs.
Take as Prescribed. You must take exactly as prescribed. You may not adjust the dose yourself. You may not “share” your medication with others.
Comply with Pill Counts. You may be asked to bring in your medication for a pill count. You must come to the office within 24 hours of such a request.
Comply with Drug Testing. You will be asked to come to the office for random drug tests. Our drug screens are “supervised,” meaning that a staff person will be in the restroom with you in order to insure that the specimen is coming from your body. You must come to the office within 24 hours of such a request.
Notify the Office Immediately if Medication is Lost or Stolen. You are required to contact the police and bring a report to the office. Depending on the circumstances, we may choose not to reorder your medication.
Notify in Case of Relapse. Call us immediately if you relapse. Although we understand that relapse may be part of the disease process, we believe honest communication is essential to a beneficial doctor-patient relationship. We need to know about relapse before a positive drug screen.
Know the Office Policies that Pertain to Buprenorphine Treatment. You must review this information in its entirety, including your responsibilities, office hours, payment, etc.
Payment for Services. Patients not current with payment are not considered active patients and we are under no obligation to provide further treatment.
Physicians are limited, by law, as to the number of patients that they can be prescribing buprenorphine to at one time. Receiving buprenorphine is a privilege and the demand for this service is extremely high. If you are accepted for admission, it is our sincere hope that you will cooperate with all program requirements and expectations but if you do not, we are under no obligation to continue treatment.
Contact us at (906) 225-3994 or 1 (800) 562-9753, ext. 3994.