Suboxone is an FDA-approved medication for the treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD). As a controlled substance, Suboxone should only be accessed from a licensed pharmacy using a valid prescription from a qualified provider. The Suboxone composition earns it the classification of a Schedule III drug since buprenorphine and all medications containing buprenorphine fall under this category. What is a Schedule III substance, and what do you need to know before consulting your provider about prescribing Suboxone for your OUD treatment? Learn how this controlled substance is scheduled and how you can safely access Suboxone care from a qualified provider.

Although Suboxone treatment can be life-changing for those committed to overcoming opioid use disorder, this Schedule III substance must only be accessed under the care of qualified providers, such as those at Confidant Health’s online Suboxone clinic. Our clinicians have the expertise you depend on to safely and effectively guide you through an appropriate Suboxone regimen. Get started on your road to recovery by scheduling an intake assessment with our team. 

What Schedule of Drug is Suboxone?

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies Suboxone and all buprenorphine medications as Schedule III drugs. The justification for this schedule is that buprenorphine serves a medical purpose but has a moderate to low potential for abuse or dependence. In this case, the medical use of Suboxone is for the management of opioid use disorder (OUD).

Basic Classification or Schedule of Drugs

The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1970 defines five categories or schedules of drugs. Drugs are categorized based on whether they have an approved medical use, carry the potential for abuse, or pose a risk for dependence or addiction. If a drug is similar to another that is already classified as a controlled substance, that will also dictate its classification. 

Schedule I

Schedule I substances are those that have not been approved for any type of medical use in the United States. They also have a high risk of abuse. 

Some examples of Schedule I drugs are:

  • Ecstasy

  • Heroin

  • LSD

  • Marijuana

  • Methaqualone

  • Peyote

Schedule II

Schedule II substances have been approved for medical use in the United States but with tight restrictions. These drugs also have a high potential for abuse and physiological addiction.

Some examples of Schedule II drugs are:

  • Amphetamine

  • Fentanyl

  • Hydrocodone

  • Methadone

  • Methamphetamine

  • Oxycodone

Schedule III

Schedule III substances are approved for medical purposes in the United States with a lower risk for abuse than Schedule I or II drugs. The risk for physical dependence is moderate to low, while the potential for psychological dependence is high.

Some examples of Schedule III drugs are:

  • Anabolic steroids

  • Buprenorphine

  • Ketamine

  • Testosterone

  • Tylenol with codeine

Schedule IV

Schedule IV substances are approved for medical use in the United States with a lower risk for abuse or physical or psychological dependence than Schedule III drugs.

Some examples of Schedule IV drugs are:

  • Alprazolam

  • Clonazepam

  • Diazepam

  • Lorazepam

  • Triazolam

Schedule V

Schedule V substances are approved for medical purposes in the United States with a lower potential for abuse or physical or psychological dependence than Schedule IV drugs.

Some examples of Schedule V drugs are:

  • Analgesic medications (Lyrica)

  • Antidiarrheal medications (Lomotil, Motofen, Parepectolin)

  • Cough medications with 200 mg or less of codeine per 100 mg or mL (Robitussin AC)

Is Suboxone a Controlled Substance?

Suboxone is considered to be a controlled substance. A controlled substance is a drug or substance that could lead to abuse, dependence, or addiction. Suboxone contains buprenorphine, which is classified as a Schedule III controlled substance.

The DEA classifies certain substances as controlled substances to restrict access to those with a valid prescription from their provider. This policy is enforced for safety reasons and to ensure that people only have access to potentially addictive medications when deemed necessary by medical professionals. The intention is for individuals to remain under the care and guidance of their provider throughout their treatment with a controlled substance. If you are interested in Suboxone care for opioid use disorder, you should always consult with your provider.

Restrictions/Regulations When Accessing a Schedule III Drug Like Suboxone

Since Suboxone is a Schedule III substance, you will need to know how to get Suboxone treatment safely and legally. Restrictions and regulations on controlled substances will limit access to Suboxone care to those following the below procedures:

You must get a Suboxone prescription from a qualified provider.

A qualified provider must be state licensed and registered with the DEA before prescribing Suboxone as part of an OUD treatment plan. Physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and several other practitioners are eligible to prescribe Suboxone care once they follow through on licensing and registration requirements. Qualified providers have the expertise and training to determine the appropriate Suboxone doses for your treatment, which is vital for your health and safety. Ask your provider if they are qualified to prescribe Suboxone treatment or reach out to an online Suboxone clinic for convenient care.

You must fill your Suboxone prescription at a licensed pharmacy.

As a Schedule III controlled substance, Suboxone will be stored securely behind the pharmacy counter. Your provider will either provide you with a handwritten prescription or electronically submit your prescription to your pharmacy. Some reputable online pharmacies are also licensed to fill Suboxone prescriptions and deliver them directly to your home. 

Confidant Health: Your Connection to Safe, Effective Virtual Suboxone Treatment

When you reach out to the online Suboxone doctors at Confidant Health for Suboxone care, you will know you are in good hands. Our caring clinicians specialize in virtual Suboxone treatment and will be there for you every step of the way. Get started today with an assessment or contact us with any questions you have about overcoming OUD with Suboxone.