Nov. 8, 2021 – The ramifications can be particularly acute in rural areas, where a dearth of addiction treatment providers, lack of transportation and stigma against these medications already create barriers. If pharmacies decline to provide buprenorphine too, patients will have few options left, Selby said.

The DEA did not respond to requests for comment.

Like many other prescription drugs, buprenorphine can be found illegally on the street. There are unscrupulous doctors who hand out prescriptions and pharmacists who fill them. Subutex, which consists of buprenorphine alone, is easier to misuse and typically has higher street value than Suboxone, a combination of buprenorphine and the overdose-reversal drug naloxone.