You are currently viewing Can A Doctor Take Suboxone? Do Opioid Addicted Doctors Get Suboxone Therapy?

How are doctors who get addicted to opioids treated?

Can a doctor get a prescription for Suboxone? This is an interesting question. If a doctor requires medical treatment, are they allowed to get the same treatment as other human beings?

If you are interested in learning more about doctors taking Suboxone for opioid addiction, you may be interested in listening to our Suboxone podcast. We discuss many interesting Suboxone-related topics on the show.

Of course, doctors are human beings, and they are not at all perfect. It is very possible for a doctor to get addicted to opioids.

How does a doctor become dependent on opioids, or addicted to opioid drugs? It is possible for a doctor to get addicted just like any other person.

Doctors get injured, just like non-doctors. A doctor may be in a car accident, or they may injure their back or neck while exercising or lifting heavy objects.

When the doctor goes to another doctor for medical treatment, they may get a prescription for an opioid analgesic, such as Percocet, Vicodin, Dilaudid, or tylenol #3 with codeine. Usually, these pain pills are intended for short-term use, but they may be used for longer periods in cases where the pain becomes chronic.

Just like any other human being, some doctors may be at higher risk for developing an opioid addiction. When this happens, they find themselves obsessed with taking more opioids. When they do take opioids, they feel the physical compulsion to take more.

Do doctors who get addicted to opioids lose their license?

There are many types of healthcare professionals, and certain healthcare workers are at higher risk of developing an opioid addiction. Having easier access to opioid drugs may increase the risk.

Imagine a family doctor who becomes addicted to opioids while taking a legal prescription given to them for pain from an injury or surgery. Surprisingly, family doctors have little, if any access to opioids.

While many family doctors write opioid prescriptions for their patients, they may rarely, if ever, come in contact with opioid drugs during their career. Of course, there are exceptions, but generally, doctors who work in an office do not come in contact with opioids.

On the other hand, pharmacists handle opioids regularly, throughout their workday. Nurses also handle opioids many times daily. Regarding doctors, anesthesiologists handle opioids for nearly every surgical case, and there is a high risk of anesthesiologist opioid addiction.

These healthcare professionals, when they develop an opioid addiction, may be at risk for attempting to divert, and steal some of the opioids they work with. Of course, diversion of opioids is a serious crime. At the very least, when a healthcare professional gets caught in an opioid-related crime, they risk losing their license and their job.

Yet, it is possible that a doctor could become addicted to opioids without necessarily commiting a crime, or they may not be caught commiting a crime. Besides criminal activity, there is also the concern of an opioid-addicted doctor risking patient safety.

Are doctors who get addicted to opioids dangerous to their patients?

Often, when a person becomes addicted to opioids, they get to a point where they continue using opioids to not get sick from opioid withdrawal. They do not use opioids to get high, or to get intoxicated, but simply to feel normal.

Surprisingly, many people who use opioids addictively continue functioning in their jobs without appearing to be intoxicated. On the other hand, a person using opioids may frequently nod-off, or they may exhibit slowed reflexes and diminished cognitive abilities.

It all depends on the individual person and their specific situation. Some doctors addicted to opioids may go about their day without appearing to be intoxicated at all, while others may clearly be intoxicated.

The problem is that no one wants to be under the care of a doctor who is actively addicted to opioids, no matter how well they are functioning. Would you want to fly in a plane piloted by a pilot addicted to opioids, even if they appeared to be fine?

So, healthcare professionals are encouraged to report each other when they suspect that a colleague is impaired by drug or alcohol use. While no one wants to be a snitch and turn in a colleague, it is important to protect patient safety above all else.

When a doctor is turned in for opioid abuse, is it the end of their career?

Doctors who abuse drugs or alcohol are risking having their medical license suspended, or even revoked. Yet, their career is not necessarily ended by an addiction issue.

Addiction is a health problem that requires medical treatment. Opioid addiction specifically has clear medical treatments that are highly effective.

For example, methadone maintenance clinics help people addicted to the opioid fentanyl to quit street drug use. Clients report to the methadone clinic daily for medical treatment and counseling.

Suboxone doctors treat patients with buprenorphine and naloxone. Patients report to their Suboxone clinic every week or every month for treatment.

A third treatment is naltrexone, which is an opioid blocker. Naltrexone is available as a daily pill, or a monthly injection.

Doctors are allowed to get opioid addiction treatment. They are human beings, and they have the same rights as anyone else to effective healthcare.

If Suboxone therapy is the best choice of treatment, then a doctor addicted to opioids may go to a Suboxone doctor for treatment. They are allowed to accept a Suboxone prescription and they are allowed to fill it at the pharmacy.

However, it is possible that a doctor who has gotten in trouble for opioid misuse may have disciplinary action from their medical board to face. They may also be required to enter a monitoring program to protect themselves and their patients.

Can a doctor take Suboxone and see patients?

This is another excellent question. Patients who take Suboxone are generally not intoxicated by the medication. In most cases, they are able to function as well as a person who does not take medication.

Yet, it is possible that the medical board may have an issue with a doctor who takes Suboxone. If you are a doctor reading this article for guidance on what to do if you practice medicine and take Suboxone, I recommend consulting with a healthcare administrative lawyer.

The decision of whether a doctor on Suboxone can treat patients may depend on the specialty of the doctor and the types of cases they normally handle. For example, the board may be uncomfortable with a surgeon taking Suboxone, yet, they may have no issue with a primary care physician or family doctor on Suboxone.

From what I have been told, pilots cannot fly on Suboxone. There are many medications that cannot be taken by pilots, and apparently, the list includes Suboxone and other buprenorphine medications.

While the pilot may feel perfectly able to fly a plane, regulators are not comfortable with the idea of a pilot flying on Suboxone. Suboxone is classified as an opioid, and it may possibly have sedating side effects.

Additionally, many people do not fully understand how Suboxone works and that it is typically not sedating or intoxicating. There are many people who believe that Suboxone is similar to heroin, yet it is very different from heroin and all other opioids.

Should doctors say that they are a doctor when they go to the doctor?

This is a good question. Some doctors ask patients about their career or job, and some do not. Are doctors required to know what job their patient does?

When a doctor prescribes a medication that may have sedating side effects, they should notify their patient. The doctor should inform the patient that they should avoid driving and operating heavy machinary. The patient should avoid activities that may put their safety or the safety of others at risk, due to the side effects of the medication.

Should a doctor confront each patient and ask if they are a doctor? Should the doctor ask if their patient is a pilot, or a navy seal? How far does the responsibility of a doctor go in questioning their patient?

Part of the art of taking a history as taught in medical schools includes asking a patient’s job as part of the social history. Along with asking about tobacco, drugs, alcohol, sexual activity, and seatbelts, the doctor is expected to ask about the patient’s job.

Knowing what job a patient does may contribute to better understanding the patient’s health condition. For example, if a patient has wrist pain, and they work in a pharmacy, maybe they are developing carpal tunnel syndrome due to screwing caps on bottles all day.

Yet, when a Suboxone doctor prescribes Suboxone, what is the extent of their responsibility in investigating their patient’s career responsibilities? As mentioned earlier, doctors who are concerned about these issues should consult with a healthcare attorney for more information. They may also consult the state laws and rules regarding how they are to practice medicine in their state.

Can a doctor addicted to opioids go into recovery without getting medication assisted treatment?

While methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone have higher success rates than abstinence-based treatments, it is still possible for a person to quit opioids without the help of medications. There is also a medication known as Lucemyra that treats opioid withdrawal symptoms, which can be very helpful. Also, listening to opiate recovery podcasts can help.

A doctor in recovery from opioid addiction does not have to take Suboxone, or any other specific medical addiction treatment. While Suboxone therapy has a high success rate, there are alternatives.

Doctors who enter state monitoring programs tend to do fairly well, because they understand that their careers are at stake, and they are being watched by the state. The monitoring programs can order mandatory drug tests any time.

So, even without the beneficial effects of Suboxone, suppressing cravings and withdrawal symptoms, it is possible that the opioid-addicted doctor can have success in becoming opioid free. They simply need the best possible support and psychotherapy available, as well as close monitoring.

The decision of how the doctor is to be treated for their addiction is individual and based on their specific situation. What works best for one person may not be ideal for another.

And, it is important that a doctor with an addiction problem does not avoid getting help because they fear for their career. Doctors can get their career back if they get help for an addiction.

Also, doctors should learn to not associate their personal value with their career. They are human beings who have intrinsic value, regardless of their education and degree.

A doctor in recovery may want to re-evaluate their life and decide if a medical career was the best choice. Every human being has options and alternatives. It is never too late to make different choices and take a different path in life. Read our recovery blogs to ensure a safe recovery.