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Can I Take Suboxone on a Plane?

Peter Manza, PhD profile image
Reviewed By Peter Manza, PhD • Updated Apr 1, 2024 • 3 cited sources

For domestic flights, you can take Suboxone on a plane. It’s also often possible to take Suboxone on a flight to other countries, but the rules tend to be more varied and strict. Check any applicable rules of your target destination and any countries you have a layover in before entering those countries with a controlled substance like Suboxone.

Traveling With Suboxone: Key Considerations

Some things you need to consider when traveling with Suboxone include the following:

Medication Documentation

It is good practice when traveling with any controlled substance to carry documentation showing you have a legitimate prescription for the substance. Talk to your healthcare provider about your intentions to travel, so you can obtain a travel letter explaining the nature of your condition and the specifics of why you need to carry your medication with you. 

Legal Restrictions

Air travel is heavily regulated, so it’s important to understand any applicable rules if you intend to take prescription medication onto a plane. When flying domestically, meaning you aren’t going to exit the country, the applicable rules will usually allow you to take your medication without major issue. Although you should still review the TSA’s guidelines regarding bringing medication onto a plane and the rules of whatever state you’re traveling to, there will usually be a straightforward path to legally bring any medication with you as you travel.[1] 

The issue of traveling with medications becomes more complex when traveling to a different country. As discussed by the CDC, countries can have laws regarding medications that may be very different from the laws that apply to you in the U.S. The CDC recommends checking with the embassy of both your destination and in any countries in which you have layovers to make sure you fully understand the rules regarding the medications you want to bring.[2]

Oftentimes, a country will allow a person to bring a 30-day supply of a medication with them, potentially also requiring the individual to carry a prescription or medical certificate from their healthcare provider. However, this isn’t universally true. Depending on the country and medication, you may or may not be able to bring the medication you need with you. 

If you can’t bring a particular medication, you will need to discuss your intentions to travel with a medical professional who may be able to help find an alternate treatment option that is permitted and accessible wherever it is you’re traveling.[2]

Storage & Accessibility

There are a few travel-friendly packaging options you should consider if traveling with Suboxone. Pill organizers can help protect your medication and make it easy to track which medications you need to take on which particular days. You may also want to get a travel pouch, which can help you discreetly carry medication with you. 

Of primary concern should be keeping your medication protected from damage and easily accessible when you need it. Suboxone is a medication taken to manage opioid use disorder (OUD) and to reduce your cravings for opioids, which are issues you certainly don’t want to become more severe when you’re traveling. 

FAQs: Common User Questions

The following are some common user questions about flying with Suboxone:

Can I take Suboxone on a plane?

Yes, you can take Suboxone on a plane for domestic flights. However, you should always research the specific rules that will apply to you based on the locations you’re traveling to, including anywhere you’ll be stopping for layover, to make sure your medication won’t cause any issues. This is important if you are traveling internationally.

Do I need to declare Suboxone at customs?

You should always declare any medication, including Suboxone, at customs. Suboxone is relatively tightly regulated in many different countries, as it contains the partial opioid agonist buprenorphine. When declaring your medication, be prepared to show the appropriate medical documentation that proves you need it and have a legitimate prescription for it.

What should I do if I forget my Suboxone while traveling?

If you forget your medication while traveling, contact your healthcare provider to discuss potential options. Your provider’s ability to help you will vary depending on where you are traveling. You may need to take their advice and recommendations to a provider in the area you’re currently visiting and then discuss your needs with that healthcare provider. Ideally, you will be able to show that provider your prescription and travel letter, helping to explain why you need Suboxone and showing you have a legitimate prescription for the medication. 

Are there any restrictions on traveling to specific countries with Suboxone?

Suboxone contains the opioid buprenorphine, so different countries have varying rules on how one is allowed to travel with the drug. While you should always double check the applicable rules from a relevant government source when traveling with any medication that qualifies as an opioid, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) attempts to stay updated with information provided by many different countries regarding their policies that deal with carrying controlled substances. This resource can work as a helpful quick reference, but the INCB emphasizes they “cannot confirm the correctness and accuracy of regulations for travelers published on this website, and strongly recommends prospective travelers to contact the embassy/consulate of the intended country of visit.” [3] 

Traveling Safely: Tips & Recommendations

The following are some tips and recommendations to help you travel safely in recovery:

Carry Extra Medication

Travel can sometimes be unpredictable, and stays are sometimes more extended than initially intended. Talk with your doctor, and keep in mind that some areas may only allow you to bring a certain amount of medication. If allowed, you may want to bring more medication than is strictly necessary based on how long you expect to be traveling and away from your healthcare provider. This can help you stay prepared for changes to your schedule. 

Emergency Contacts

When traveling, keep a list of your emergency contacts with you. In the event that you experience a medical emergency, people assisting you can use this list to contact important individuals in your life to alert them of the situation and potentially get key medical information about you in situations where you aren’t able to communicate yourself. 

If you’re traveling with a group, talk with the people you’re traveling with about setting one of them as an emergency contact. That way, someone within a reasonable distance of you will always be on your contact list.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is worth considering if traveling somewhere where your health insurance policy may not provide you with necessary coverage. Depending on the package you choose, travel insurance can help cover a variety of medical costs (including costs associated with getting prescription medication) while you travel abroad. 

Be Prepared

If you need to travel across state or country lines with medication, preparation is key. Always research applicable rules to make sure you can carry your medication without having it confiscated or suffering any legal penalties. 

Preparing ahead of time will also help you replan your trip as necessary. You may need to temporarily change your treatment (which should only be done after consulting a medical professional). In some cases, you may alter your plans, so you can go to a more suitable destination that better meets your medical needs.

Never attempt to sneak your medication into a region in which it is illegal or via a method that attempts to bypass local regulations. This would qualify as drug smuggling and can potentially have quite severe legal consequences. 

The best practice is to be upfront and honest about your medical needs, making sure to talk with the relevant authorities well ahead of time about how best to travel with all necessary medications (assuming it’s possible).

Reviewed By Peter Manza, PhD

Peter Manza, PhD received his BA in Psychology and Biology from the University of Rochester and his PhD in Integrative Neuroscience at Stony Brook University. He is currently working as a research scientist in Washington, DC. His research focuses on the role ... Read More

  1. Can you pack your meds in a pill case and more questions answered. Transportation Security Administration. Published 2021. Accessed February 8, 2024.
  2. Traveling abroad with medicine. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published August 2022. Accessed February 8, 2024.
  3. Country regulations for travellers carrying medicines containing controlled substances. International Narcotics Control Board. Published August 2022. Accessed February 8, 2024.

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