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Can Suboxone Be Called Into a Pharmacy?

Peter Manza, PhD profile image
Reviewed By Peter Manza, PhD • Updated Mar 26, 2023

Suboxone can be called into a pharmacy and is legal to get with a prescription. However, about one in five pharmacies don’t fill prescriptions for buprenorphine-based medications like Suboxone, in large part due to regulations on these drugs from the DEA.

Suboxone is much more accessible than other medications for opioid use disorder (mOUD), such as methadone, however.

Can You Call Suboxone Into a Pharmacy?

Suboxone can be called into a pharmacy, although the regulations in place regarding the drug mean supplies can be limited. Some pharmacies choose not to stock Suboxone due to complicated legal problems it is sometimes associated with, discussed more below. 

From the patient’s perspective, you may need to contact multiple pharmacies to find one able to stock a Suboxone prescription, depending on where you live. Some patients even have to travel out-of-network to find a pharmacy, although this isn’t true everywhere.[1] All in all, about 20% of pharmacies do not fill buprenorphine-related prescriptions.

DEA & Pharmacies

A core issue with Suboxone access is that the DEA has currently highly politicized the medication despite medical evidence largely suggesting that Suboxone and other buprenorphine-based medications have limited addiction and misuse potential. Even when obtained and used illegally, these medications are often used by people to suppress withdrawal and drug cravings, so they can potentially stop using more dangerous opioids they’re addicted to (much as the drug is used when legitimately prescribed). It is rare for these medications to be misused in search of a euphoric high.

The exact reasons buprenorphine-based medications are so heavily regulated are complex and at times unclear. However, a core element of the decisions the DEA makes about Suboxone and related drugs is that buprenorphine, the main ingredient of these drugs, is technically an opioid. 

However, it is a partial opioid agonist, not a full opioid agonist like heroin or fentanyl. This means that even when intentionally misused, it cannot generally produce the powerful high associated with opioid misuse. Suboxone also contains naloxone, which serves as an deterrent for misuse.[2] 

Regardless, the DEA’s strict regulations on Suboxone and related medications have caused multiple pharmacies significant legal troubles in the past, including destroying a small pharmacy in West Virginia by revoking the pharmacy’s registration to dispense controlled substances for perceived contributions to worsening the opioid epidemic. Two judges later separately ruled in the pharmacy and its owner’s favor, but the damage was done, and the business had to be shuttered.[1] 

Bicycle Health & Suboxone

Using a telehealth company like Bicycle Health can make getting Suboxone easier, as our company has systems in place to readily identify pharmacies that are relevant to you and can fill your prescription. The actions of the modern DEA may limit access to evidence-based, effective addiction treatment medications, but those medications are still legal and available if the proper procedures are followed. 

We can help make access much easier for patients who need those medications as part of their recovery efforts. If you have struggled to find a pharmacy that could fill their prescription in the past, reach out to us today. We can help.


  1. DEA Takes Aggressive Stance Toward Pharmacies Trying to Dispense Addiction Medicine. NPR. November 2021. Accessed February 2023.
  2. An Overview of Abuse-Deterrent Opioids and Recommendations for Practical Patient Care. Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare. July 2018. Accessed February 2023.

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

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