The rise in addiction to powerful prescription painkillers like OxyContin, as well as heroin, has led to an increase in the number of patients seeking suboxone, a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone that is used to treat opiate addiction. According to this article, only 26 percent of physicians are licensed to prescribe suboxone, and the majority of those doctors are limited to treating only 30 patients a year. But access isn’t the only issue: some physicians charge massive fees, deny insurance, or accept only cash, so depending on the severity of the individual’s addiction and black market resources, buying suboxone on the streets can be much cheaper than from a doctor, the article says.
Another article discusses how the social stigma of addiction has helped create a thriving black market for suboxone —one that poses real dangers for addicts trying to stay clean.
Meanwhile, there is controversy over whether suboxone is all it’s cracked up to be, with critics saying the drug is causing its own epidemic of addiction.