Opioid dependence and misuse are on the rise in St. Paul and other parts of Minnesota. In September 2021, many St. Paul residents realized the seriousness of the problem when the city saw seven suspected overdoses in a 24-hour span, two of them fatal. But opioid use doesn’t have to be hopeless! Treatment is available and can make recovery more attainable whether you’re dealing with a reliance on pain pills or with illicit opioids like heroin or fentanyl.
What are the basics of Suboxone?
Suboxone is the brand name for a medication (buprenorphine/naloxone) approved by the FDA to treat opioid use disorder (also called opioid addiction). The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and the World Health Organization all endorse Suboxone as an important treatment for many struggling with opioid use disorder. Suboxone falls under the umbrella of medication-assisted treatment, which combines medication with clinical support and behavioral therapies to create a comprehensive treatment.
The buprenorphine in Suboxone helps to alleviate dependence on opioids like heroin, fentanyl, and prescription pain relievers by reducing withdrawal symptoms and cravings. This helps stabilize long-term recovery and lowers the risk of relapse. Suboxone is taken sublingually (dissolved under the tongue), as buprenorphine is best absorbed that way. It also contains naloxone, to reduce the risk of the medication being diverted or misused.
How can I get Suboxone treatment in St. Paul, Minnesota?
Though Suboxone is considered less likely to be misused or diverted than many other opioids, the state of Minnesota has careful guidelines for clinicians who prescribe Suboxone and other medications that contain buprenorphine. There are also national restrictions on prescribing, including a requirement that providers qualify for a specific waiver. These controls are intended for public safety, but they do make it more challenging for St. Paul residents to get Suboxone treatment. To find a provider near you, you can check SAMHSA’s Buprenorphine Practitioner Locator.
Another option is telemedicine. In April of 2021, nearly 65% of U.S. households reported using telehealth services over the past year. This is largely due to the COVID pandemic, but it is also due to improvements in technology that have made telehealth more accessible to more people. At this time, Minnesotans are able to receive telemedicine treatment for Suboxone without an in-person appointment as long as the provider administers a thorough virtual evaluation. This makes medication-assisted treatment possible for people who experience barriers to in-person treatment. These barriers can be things like transportation issues (like being snowed in, not being near a bus route, or lacking a vehicle), difficulties getting away from home or work for regular appointments, needing a more discreet choice, and moving out of the city into more rural parts of the state.
Telehealth providers must abide by the same guidelines and restrictions as in-person doctors. All Workit Health clinicians have the necessary waiver to prescribe Suboxone. Workit providers meet with members via a HIPAA-compliant app and, when indicated, prescribe Suboxone to a local pharmacy.
Paying for Suboxone treatment in St. Paul
American medical providers have a lot of leeway in what forms of payment they choose to accept. Most buprenorphine practitioners accept cash and credit cards. Many accept commercial insurance, although this varies from provider to provider. Minnesota state Medicaid also covers Suboxone treatment administered within their guidelines.
Workit Health accepts a variety of insurance plans, Medicaid plans, Medicare plans, and self-pay options. Click here to verify your insurance coverage on our insurance checker.
Will Suboxone show up on a drug test?
Under Minnesota law, employers can require drug testing in many contexts, including when you’re applying for a job, when you get a physical, when they have reasonable suspicion that you’re using, and when they have referred you for addiction treatment. So it is understandable that you may be concerned about whether Suboxone will show up on a drug test.
The answer is: it depends. Suboxone will not usually show up on the standard drug test used by most employers, but it will show up on a drug test that is designed to detect buprenorphine (usually tests with 12 or more panels). Employers most commonly test for the following substances: tetrahydrocannabinol (the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana), cocaine, opioids, methamphetamine, amphetamines (e.g. speed, Adderall, and Ritalin), barbiturates (e.g. phenobarbital), and benzodiazepines (e.g. Xanax, Valium, Ativan).
Most employers will not choose to pay extra to test for Suboxone, but they are legally allowed to. If your employer receives a positive drug test result, the laboratory should ask whether there were any medications taken that may have caused the positive outcome. This will give you the opportunity to establish that you are taking Suboxone as part of a valid treatment program.
Do I need to get therapy if I get Suboxone treatment?
The state of Minnesota does not require counseling for buprenorphine treatment the way they do for methadone, but SAMHSA recommends that all medication-assisted treatment include a behavioral health component like counseling.
One therapeutic option that many find effective is group therapy with others who have similar recovery goals. Group therapy can provide support, insight, accountability, and a sense of community. In Workit recovery groups, a licensed counselor hosts group sessions and helps participants set their own goals to stay on track with their recovery.
Individual therapy is what most people think of when they say “counseling.” This kind of 1:1 counseling can provide focused support and help you to better understand your thought processes and behavioral patterns so you can make healthier changes.
Workit also provides therapeutic courses that you can complete in our mobile app to support your recovery.
Don’t put off getting the help you need
Maybe you’ve noticed yourself taking your pain meds improperly, and you’re ready to reduce your risk of opioid misuse. Maybe you’ve been struggling with opioid addiction and need support to help you get into recovery. No matter where you are, treatment is available. There is no reason to wait before getting the help you deserve.