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Maine Limits Suboxone Treatment For Opiate Addicts

The President of the Northern New England Society of Addiction Medicine is warning Maine that their decision to limit Medicaid payment for Suboxone to treat opiate addiction will lead to devastating consequences.

Mark Publicker, MD believes more states will follow Maine’s lead as their budgets continue to shrink. Publicker said some states do not cover prescribing suboxone for opiate addicts at all, and other states limit the amount of refills for the addiction drug. He is leading the fight to continue pharmaceutical treatment and coverage for addicts seeking help who depend on state funds for their health care issues.

Recently, at the American Society of Addiction Medicine annual meeting Dr. Publicker expressed his concern about Medicaid limits on Suboxone. He cited patients who face being cut off from their medication after two years of treatment. The patients who will be hit hardest by the retroactive limitations are those on long-term opiate therapy.

Dr. Publicker stated, “The intent of the new limitations is to save money, but legislators had no concern about the fiscal consequences of such a move, such as increases in crime rates, illnesses, child neglect and an increased number of premature births, which are all anticipated to be far more costly than medications.”

Dr. Publicker and colleagues were only able to gain a one-year delay in the retroactive Medicaid policy in Maine, despite their efforts.

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