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How Do Suboxone Clinics Work?

Peter Manza, PhD profile image
Reviewed By Peter Manza, PhD • Updated Aug 3, 2023

Suboxone clinics work by providing addiction treatment care that involves the prescription and use of Suboxone for people with opioid use disorder (OUD). This is an evidence-based medication that can help treat OUD. 

It is considered the gold standard in treatment for OUD, as it effectively suppresses opioid cravings and withdrawal symptoms. 

What Is a Suboxone Clinic?

A Suboxone clinic is a term used to refer to drug addiction treatment clinics that utilize Suboxone as part of patient treatment when appropriate. Suboxone is an evidence-based Medication for Addiction Treatment, discussed in more detail in the next section. 

Many Suboxone clinics focus exclusively on treating OUD, although some may also treat other conditions that don’t necessarily benefit from the use of Suboxone (in which case a patient won’t be given the medication). 

Many Suboxone clinics don’t only prescribe and administer Suboxone. For example, certain Suboxone clinics may also provide other medications, such as those that treat alcohol use disorder. They also commonly provide other elements of addiction care, such as traditional talk therapy and other forms of therapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy. 

Understanding the Basics of a Suboxone Clinic

Suboxone is used to help a person with OUD to stop misusing opioids. It works primarily due to the buprenorphine in Suboxone.[1] 

Buprenorphine is an opioid partial agonist and can be thought of as a much weaker opioid compared to more dangerous, addictive opioids like heroin or oxycodone. While it may seem strange to treat OUD with an opioid, buprenorphine suppresses drug cravings and prevents opioid withdrawal. It has significantly lower misuse and addiction potential compared to the opioids associated with misuse.

Despite being an evidence-based treatment for OUD supported by both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration, access to Suboxone and comparable drugs is often limited by tight regulations and a stigma toward the medication.[2] This sometimes even causes medical professionals to misunderstand these kinds of medication and their value in treatment.

This is a major reason Suboxone clinic and similar terms exist. They help to emphasize that a particular treatment provider accepts the available medical evidence and is making efforts to simplify access to these medications, as appropriate, to their patients. 

How Does Suboxone Treatment Work?

Assuming you speak with an addiction treatment professional and they believe Suboxone or a similar medication may be helpful, you will begin taking the medication on a regular schedule. 

Depending on your situation, you may briefly need to experience opioid withdrawal to make sure other opioids are out of your system before taking Suboxone, although you will not need to undergo the entire withdrawal process before starting the medication. If you start Suboxone before other opioids have processed out of your system, the naloxone component of Suboxone can immediately put your body into withdrawal.

Suboxone will greatly reduce or eliminate your cravings for opioids and will also generally prevent opioid withdrawal. However, it doesn’t “cure” addiction. Since there isn’t a cure for opioid use disorder, you’ll need adequate therapy and support to learn to manage this chronic condition.[3] 

The things that caused you to misuse drugs, leading to an OUD, need to be confronted, and this often takes place in therapy. Suboxone can enable you to fully focus on the work you’re doing in therapy. 

Why Suboxone Works as a Long-Term Treatment

Generally, Suboxone is considered a long-term treatment, and it should be safe to be taken for an extended period for most individuals. This is what has caused some people to view medications for addiction treatment as “trading one addiction for another,” but there are some critical differences between taking Suboxone as prescribed and misusing drugs due to OUD. 

First, Suboxone isn’t dangerous like the more potent opioids associated with misuse. If taking Suboxone helps you avoid those drugs, it’s objectively a benefit. Second, Suboxone is taken on a schedule at particular prescribed doses. This schedule may be adjusted at times, but that is with the recommendations of a medical professional who believes the change will benefit your treatment. Compare this to how one typically takes drugs due to OUD. The drugs are often taken at random intervals, at very high and often dangerous doses, and where you may often feel out of control. Illicit opioid use often leads to overdose, which can be fatal, due to this erratic pattern of use.

Is Suboxone Right for You?

Whether Suboxone or a similar medication might be right for you should be a discussion between you and a qualified addiction treatment professional. It’s an evidence-based treatment for opioid use disorder that is considered to have low potential for misuse. 

Unless you have certain health conditions, such as issues related to your liver or are allergic to the medication, it is usually safe. It can admittedly have some unwanted side effects, such as causing sleep issues, aches and pains, and constipation. Generally, these side effects lessen with extended use or dosage changes.

On a basic level, medications like Suboxone are worth it if they will help you stop misusing opioids. The types of opioids people involved in OUD, like heroin and fentanyl, are much more dangerous than the buprenorphine in Suboxone. 

If you struggle to stop misusing these types of drugs, Suboxone and other buprenorphine/naloxone medications are something you should strongly consider and thoroughly discuss with your doctor. They’re not for everyone and they’re not a miracle cure, but they’re a well-tested, evidence-based treatment that can be an excellent addition to many addiction treatment plans. 

Finding a Suboxone Clinic Near You

One useful tool for finding any addiction treatment resources relevant to you is SAMHSA’s National Helpline.[4] Available at 1-800-662-4357, this is a free, confidential government resource designed to help people learn about mental health and addiction treatment resources available in their area. It can be a good, reliable starting point if you’re not sure where to begin finding good treatment providers.

Bicycle Health is an addiction treatment provider that supports the prescription and use of Suboxone for individuals with OUD. We’re also fully telehealth-based, with locations all over the country, meaning that all you need to start using our services is generally an internet connection and a device to speak with us online. 

Addiction treatment doesn’t require that a person receive in-person help in most cases.[5] As long as a patient can talk with a qualified treatment professional virtually and obtain prescription medication as needed, they can receive comprehensive care. Many people prefer this type of care for the convenience and ease of access. 

If you’re interested in what we can offer, contact us today to learn more. We can help you get on the road to a better future.


  1. Buprenorphine. StatPearls. May 2022. Accessed February 2023.
  2. Opioid Use Disorder. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. August 2022. Accessed February 2023. 
  3. Science Says: Addiction Is a Chronic Disease, Not a Moral Failing. Michigan Medicine, University of Michigan. May 2017. Accessed February 2023.
  4. SAMHSA’s National Helpline. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Accessed February 2023.
  5. Use of Telemedicine in Addiction Treatment: Current Practices and Organizational Implementation Characteristics. International Journal of Telemedicine and Applications. March 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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