Specializing in Suboxone treatment for Opiate Use Disorder

Healing Touch

Dr. Kevin M. Passer, M.D. is a Psychiatrist and Addictionologist.

  • is Board Certified in Addiction Medicine by The American Board of Preventative Medicine.

  • is also Board Certified in Child & Adolescent Psychiatry and General/Adult Psychiatry.

  • has been treating patients with Addictive Diseases (now called Substance Use Disorders) since 1986.

  • utilizes state-of-the-art treatment for Opiate Use Disorder, which is known as Medication Assisted Treatment or MAT. Studies repeatedly show that MAT is twice as effective as Abstinence-based treatments in preventing death for opiate overdose.

  • owned and operated The Drug and Alcohol Detox Clinic of South Mississippi for the past eighteen years, where he personally treated some 2500 patients who had the diagnosis of  Opiate Use Disorder with the medication Buprenorphine, also known as Suboxone and Subutex.

What is suboxone?

Suboxone contains Buprenorphine, a unique opiate medication that doesn’t cause a high or require increasing doses over time to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Naloxone, another component, blocks opiates but isn’t absorbed when taken under the tongue. Suboxone combines Buprenorphine and Naloxone, while Buprenorphine alone is called Subutex. Suboxone is typically prescribed unless there are specific reasons otherwise.

How does treatment work?

New patients undergo evaluation to diagnose and assess eligibility for the Suboxone Treatment Program. Upon acceptance, they transition from their current opioid medication to Suboxone, a process known as Induction, typically lasting three to five days. Throughout Induction, patients gradually increase Suboxone doses until stability is achieved and the correct dosage is established. Upon stabilization, patients typically experience relief from withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

Maintenance phase of treatment

Once stabilized on Suboxone, patients must stay on the medication and engage in ongoing medical management and treatment. Dr. Passer contacts all patients monthly, or more frequently if necessary, during follow-up visits to continue Suboxone treatment, known as Maintenance or Harm Reduction. The aim is to prevent overdose deaths and enhance overall functioning.

What about other problems?

As a Psychiatrist, Dr. Passer assesses patients for additional mental conditions and offers psychotropic medication management as needed, alongside Suboxone therapy. Typically, around half of Suboxone patients benefit from additional treatments, often for depression, anxiety, and/or sleep issues.

How long should I stay on maintenance?

The duration of Suboxone treatment varies depending on several factors. These include underlying issues like pain, depression, and anxiety, the duration and dose of opiate use, the method of ingestion, and the potency of the opiate. Family history of substance abuse also plays a role. Patients risk relapse if they stop treatment prematurely. A rough estimate suggests patients might need Suboxone for about half the duration of their opiate abuse, but this can be influenced by individual factors.

What should I expect with suboxone treatment?

Many patients with Opiate Use Disorder consider Suboxone a life-saving miracle drug. They report it eliminates withdrawal symptoms and cravings, allowing them to feel normal again. Suboxone helps clear their minds, freeing them from constantly seeking opiates. It’s described as giving them their lives back. However, not everyone benefits from it; those seeking a high may not find it suitable.

Are there any restrictions important to know about?

Patients should avoid using Benzodiazepines like Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, Ativan, or Librium alongside Suboxone, as combining them with any opiate, including Buprenorphine, can be fatal. It’s also crucial to refrain from alcohol consumption while taking Suboxone or any other opiate medication.

How does one ever get off suboxone?

Getting off Suboxone is possible but requires a gradual tapering process, considering various factors. This allows the brain receptors to adjust to lower Buprenorphine levels. By reducing the dosage gradually, cravings can be minimized, increasing the chances of staying clean. After discontinuing Suboxone, Naltrexone, an Opiate Blocker, can be used to further reduce relapse risks. However, Naltrexone can only be taken once the person is entirely off Suboxone.

Does suboxone have side effects?

Suboxone side effects, like other opiates, mainly include constipation. Patients should weigh the benefits and risks of treatment against not having it.

Is suboxone is a cure for opiate addiction?

Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) using Suboxone isn’t a cure for Opiate Use Disorder; it’s a form of Substitution Treatment. It breaks the cycle of seeking opiates to avoid withdrawal symptoms and reduces the risk of overdose. Suboxone replaces various opiates and transforms addicts into medically monitored patients under a certified addictionologist’s care. Patients find Suboxone liberating, allowing them to lead normal, productive lives without being consumed by opiates.

Costs and Fees

Initial Psychiatric and Addiction Medicine Evaluation and Interview Session $395
Monthly maintenance follow-up visits with Dr. Passer $175

All appointments conducted via telephone and/or video calls.

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Licensed in Mississippi and California