I recently added a new link to the menu at the top of this blog, for sites that connect patients with buprenorphine or Suboxone-certified doctors. The link will take you to a ‘meta-directory’ that lists a number of doctor-finder sites, where you can search for a physician based on location and other variables. Some of the sites include reviews or descriptions of the listed practices; one provides a ‘match service’ where patients can enter insurance and demographic information, and doctors who take their insurance can then contact them.
I receive calls every day from patients looking for buprenorphine-certified physicians. I feel bad about turning them away, but I have no choice, as I am at the 100-patient cap most of the time. After seeing too many people stop buprenorphine and then relapse and even die, I have become an advocate for long-term use of buprenorphine in most cases. Unfortunately, that means that my patient turnover rate is almost as low as the turnover on the Green Bay Packer season ticket waiting list.
Increasing the number of slots for patients will take either an increase in the number of buprenorphine-certified doctors, encouraging those doctors who are certified to actually begin treating opioid dependence, and/or increasing the patient cap for certified physicians. But the number of certified physicians has actually decreased over the past two years. And raising the cap requires an act of congress to amend DATA-2000, the law that describes and allows buprenorphine treatment of opioid dependence.
Those of you with family members addicted to opioids, or those who suffer from addiction themselves, are encouraged to contact your congressperson and educate him/her about the epidemic of opioid dependence, and the challenge in some areas to finding a physician certified to prescribe buprenorphine or Suboxone.
Even if you have a physician, I urge you to do the same. Increasing the number of patient openings will ultimately improve the treatment options, as competition among physicians will help prevent price-gouging, which seems to occur in some parts of the country where doctors are in high demand.
Please check out the information at SuboxDocs.com. If you know of a directory not listed, please comment—- and I’ll be sure the site is listed.