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Is Suboxone a narcotic?

Narcotics refer to substances that relieve pain and dull the senses, and this term is often used to describe opioid drugs. In everyday language, the term “narcotic” often carries a negative association, meaning the drug is being taken illegally or not as prescribed. When taken as prescribed by a medical provider, buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) does not have narcotic properties. When used illicitly, buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) may have narcotic properties.

Buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) IS an opioid, so it is a medication that works similarly to other opioids by binding to the opioid receptors in the brain. However, Buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) is considered to be a scientifically proven, evidence-based TREATMENT for the chronic disease of opioid addiction. Patients who struggle with addiction to opioids who are not taking medications--like Buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone), methadone, or naltrexone-- are over three times more likely to die of an opioid overdose. Thus, when taken as prescribed, Buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) is a life saving medication and does not carry narcotic properties.

Rebekah L. Rollston, MD, MPH

Rebekah L. Rollston, MD, MPH, is a board-certified Family Medicine Physician and Head of Research at Bicycle Health. She earned her Medical Degree from East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine (in the Rural Primary Care Track) and her Master of Public Health (MPH) from The George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. Dr. Rollston completed her residency at Tufts University and Cambridge Health Alliance, a Harvard-affiliated community healthcare system in Greater Boston, with emphases in addiction medicine and sexual & reproductive health. Her professional interests focus on social determinants of health & health equity, addiction medicine, gender-based violence, sexual & reproductive health, rural health, homelessness & supportive housing, and immigrant health. Dr. Rollston has published on these topics in The Lancet, Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, American Journal of Health Promotion, Journal of Appalachian Health, and Medical Care.

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Rebekah L. Rollston, MD, MPH

Rebekah L. Rollston, MD, MPH, is a board-certified Family Medicine Physician and Head of Research at Bicycle Health. She earned her Medical Degree from East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine (in the Rural Primary Care Track) and her Master of Public Health (MPH) from The George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. Dr. Rollston completed her residency at Tufts University and Cambridge Health Alliance, a Harvard-affiliated community healthcare system in Greater Boston, with emphases in addiction medicine and sexual & reproductive health. Her professional interests focus on social determinants of health & health equity, addiction medicine, gender-based violence, sexual & reproductive health, rural health, homelessness & supportive housing, and immigrant health. Dr. Rollston has published on these topics in The Lancet, Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, American Journal of Health Promotion, Journal of Appalachian Health, and Medical Care.

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