The Switch From Methadone To Suboxone
As States pass more stringent laws for methadone take home doses and more and more insurance companies are covering opiate treatment, many people in treatment in Ambridge PA are looking to suboxone to help treat their opiate addiction.
It’s 5:47 am on a rainy damp Saturday morning in Ambridge PA. Jolene waits in a line outside of the Ambridge Treatment Center with about 50 other patients. She has a small black bank bag and a locket that she purchased the day prior at
a ACE hardware. This is Jolene’s first day that she will be taking home her methadone medicine for her Sunday dose, instead of coming to the clinic from her home 45 minutes away in Pennsylvania as she usually does to take her dose.
Pennsylvania has more lenient laws than surrounding States for methadone maintenance patients wishing to take their medication home and not have to go to the clinic
everyday to consume their doses. However, Pennsylvania like many other states
has scaled back on how many prescription bottles can be taken home before returning to the clinic to refill their prescriptions. Many of the patients at the Ambridge PA Treatment Center that have been customers for several years are able to bring home a monthly supply of their medication before returning to the clinic to refill their prescriptions. Due to new laws, the most medicine that Jolene can look forward to taking home is 2 weeks worth. This is after one year of being a clinic patient and attending required counseling and group meetings. Because of the tighter restrictions being placed on methadone patients and the loosening of restrictions on buprenorphine (Suboxone), many opiate dependent patients are switching to buprenorphine.
However, even as many buprenorphine patients are finding that they are able to take their doses home more often and there is a better chance that their insurance company covers the medication, there remains one major problem in most US cities, access. On December 29th 2006 the second amendment to DATA-2000 (which allowed doctors offices to write buprenorphine prescriptions) was signed into law. This amendment increased the patients that one doctor could treat with buprenorphine to 100. However, even with this new law it is typically very hard to find a doctor that has a opening for new patients and often when one is found, they only accept cash and often at high prices. Part of the problem is that of the roughly 800,000 doctors that could certify for DATA-2000, only about 22,000 have and of that 22,000 only about 1/3 actively prescribe the treatment. This is where Opiate treatment centers like the one that Jolene attends come into play. They’re not bound to the same rules that only allow 100 patients and although many buprenorphine patients will require daily visits at first, eventually they are allowed the same take home privileges as office based patients. Most of these centers also take insurance and will work with the carrier to get the treatment approved. While it may not be the ideal option for a patient, an opiate treatment center could be a life saving service to a opiate addicted individual.
Suboxone Treatment Ambridge PA