The length of time a person stays on Suboxone, i.e. buprenorphine treatment, has become a needlessly-heated issue. Readers of my blog, SuboxoneTalkZone, likely know my opinions on the topic.
I recently met with the parents of one of my buprenorphine patients who were frustrated over their son’s ‘lack of progress.’ They complained that he has been on Suboxone for three years, and wondered when I would finally get him off the medication. They pointed out how sick he gets when he forgets to have the medication refilled, saying that he is just as ‘dependent’ as he was when he was taking heroin.
I am glad, at such times, that I don’t have to search my conscience to determine whether my treatment plan has a financial incentive. In short, it doesn’t. If anything, my financial incentive would be to get everyone off buprenorphine as quickly as possible. I have a long waiting list of people who are hoping for a spot in treatment. And since new patients usually need a higher level of care, bringing in new patients results in more ‘business.’ Because of the 100-patient cap, the portion of my practice taken up by people on Suboxone has become a small, relatively-stable group of patients.