Are you a Minneapolitan who is wondering if Suboxone treatment is for you or where to find it? When you’re struggling with pain pills or illicit opioids like heroin or fentanyl, quitting can feel impossible. Stopping cold turkey can make you dopesick, but you may not know what options exist to relieve your withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
But quitting is not impossible. Medication-assisted treatment like Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone) can help you get through withdrawal and find long-term recovery.
What is Suboxone?
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is the term for using medication (usually along with counseling and behavioral therapy) to treat substance use disorder. MAT has become the gold standard of care for opioid use disorder, stabilizing recovery, preventing relapse, and improving outcomes.
The FDA has approved three medications for treating opioid use disorder: buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone. Buprenorphine is the primary ingredient in Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone). It has become widely recommended, and is more accessible than methadone, due to differences in the regulations governing them.
Buprenorphine is an opioid. It has a strong binding ability, and binds to the opioid receptors in the brain. This lets it replace and block other opioids and impede their effect on the brain. Because it is filling those receptors, people feel fewer and milder cravings. Buprenorphine has a relatively long half-life (up to 32 hours), which provides a steady effect on the brain. This makes it less likely that people using buprenorphine as MAT will develop a tolerance. For most people, it produces minimal or no euphoria It can help to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms without producing euphoria—the feeling of “high”—after they acclimate to taking it.
The second ingredient in Suboxone is naloxone. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist. This means that it binds to opioid receptors and can reverse and block the effects of other opioids, such as heroin, morphine, and oxycodone. When Suboxone is taken as directed (dissolved under the tongue) the naloxone has little to no effect, as it is poorly absorbed through the mouth. But its presence in the medication reduces the risk of Suboxone being diverted or misused.
How effective is Suboxone?
MAT, including Suboxone, has been shown by many studies to:
- Improve patient survival
- Decrease illicit opioid use and other criminal activities among people with substance use disorders
- Improve birth outcomes among pregnant women with substance use disorders
- Increase retention in treatment
- Increase patients’ ability to gain and maintain employment
Research shows that MAT is a far more successful treatment of opioid use disorder than alternatives, resulting in a lower likelihood of overdose.
Finding Suboxone treatment in Minneapolis
Buprenorphine is a schedule III controlled substance. This means that there are strict regulations limiting who can prescribe medications like Suboxone that contain it. In order to prescribe it, a doctor must have a special certification and waiver through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Many doctors don’t have this waiver, so you can’t be sure that every clinic would be able and willing to offer Suboxone treatment.
All Workit Health clinicians have the necessary governmental waivers and certifications that allow them to prescribe Suboxone, and they provide treatment via 100% virtual telemedicine care.
You can also check out SAMHSA’s Buprenorphine Practitioner Locator.
Can you get a Suboxone prescription online in Minneapolis?
Yes, it is legal and possible for Minnesotans to get a Suboxone prescription online. The Ryan Haight Act (Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2008) includes a national requirement that patients be evaluated in person before being inducted on Suboxone. In 2020, some of these restrictions were loosened to allow treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic, and many states made it possible for Suboxone treatment to be provided via telemedicine. Fortunately, Minnesota is one of the states that allows 100% virtual Suboxone treatment at this time.
You still need to have a medical consultation with a licensed and waivered clinician and complete regular drug screens. All of these can take place via telemedicine. Your provider will discuss your substance use and medical history to determine whether Suboxone is a good fit for you. You will have regular follow-up appointments.
Workit Health offers online appointment options that will work with your availability and e-prescribes Suboxone to your local pharmacy.
How effective is telehealth addiction treatment in Minnesota?
Telehealth has been growing more established in recent years, and has exploded in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic as an alternative to physically entering a physician’s office. Several initial studies indicate that telemedicine addiction treatment can be just as effective as in-person treatment at supporting recovery from substance use disorder. It also improves access for people who have limited mobility or who live in rural areas.
Telemedicine can provide regular contact with your care team. Because you do not need to factor in travel time, appointment availability can be better for your schedule. At-home drug testing helps you remain accountable and keep your provider informed without having to drive to a lab. (Note that some kinds of tests will still require a lab appointment, but regular drug screening can happen in the privacy of home.)
Increasingly, insurance plans are covering telemedicine care the same as in-person care. You can check Workit’s online insurance checker to see if your plan is accepted, and more plans are added all the time.
Will my online Suboxone clinic ship my meds directly to me in Minneapolis?
While Suboxone is less stringently regulated than some other medications (like methadone), there are still vital controls and regulations in place to make sure that it’s prescribed and administered properly. That means going through a pharmacy. Most telemedicine providers don’t have their own pharmacies, so they send prescriptions to your local pharmacy, where you can get your meds.
Workit providers and clinic staff help you find a pharmacy that works with you.
The opioid epidemic in Minneapolis
Opioid overdose deaths in Minnesota have increased more than 700% over the past 20 years, and non-fatal overdoses have seen a sharp increase as well. As these numbers continue to climb, it becomes increasingly vital that people in the Minneapolis area have access to effective treatment for opioid use disorder. Help is available to help you manage your withdrawal symptoms and get into long-term recovery.