During the opioid crisis, access to buprenorphine providers is a crucial step to recovery.
Since March 30th is National Doctors' Day, we at Workit Health wanted to take a moment to salute all of those working on the front lines of the opioid epidemic prescribing buprenorphine.
We're all familiar with the staggering numbers of those struggling with heroin or pain pill addiction in the opioid crisis. At Workit Health, and for many of you reading this, these numbers are much more than just statistics, but hours, days, and lives lost to addiction. According to the Department of Health and Human Services:
An estimated 2 million people suffer from opioid use disorder.
Over 100 people die from opioid related deaths every day.
The opioid crisis cost the country over $500 billion in 2016.
Buprenorphine is a crucial tool in the fight against the opioid epidemic.
The research is clear. The gold standard of care is buprenorphine, commonly known by its most popular brand name, Suboxone. Despite the bad rap it gets in abstinence-only circles, buprenorphine reduces risk of overdose and increases quality of life in recovery.
With 2 million people struggling with opiate addiction, how many buprenorphine providers would you expect the country to have? There are currently only 46,000 providers able to prescribe buprenorphine, according to SAMHSA, and there are limits on the numbers of patients those providers can see.
You need more training to prescribe life-saving treatment like buprenorphine than you do to prescribe the pain pills that (may) cause someone to become addicted in the first place, as buprenorphine requires an eight hour waiver course, as well as limits on how many patients providers can treat.
Sadly, this leaves many people seeking buprenorphine as a solution for heroin or pain pill addiction finding it on the street, rather than in an office where they can receive medical care.
This is why Workit Health physicians like our CMO, Dr. Melody Glenn, are getting the special training required to be able to prescribe buprenorphine. Read more about Dr. Glenn in our interview with her. She explains why buprenorphine is so important:
Dr. Diane Hallinen, MD, works with Workit Health to treat patients with opioid addiction with buprenorphine in Michigan. She says:
If you're looking for a buprenorphine provider and don't know where to start, don't be daunted.
Online tools can help you find a buprenorphine provider near you:
- Suboxone.com offers a directory of local Suboxone providers.
- Treatmentmatch.org anonymously connects people seeking treatment for opioid addiction with providers in their area.
- SAMHSA offers a Buprenorphine Treatment Practitioner Locator.
If you're already receiving buprenorphine treatment, take a minute to say thanks to your doctor on National Doctors' Day, for taking the time to get waivered for buprenorphine treatment.