Summary

  • Physicians who do not prescribe buprenorphine should refer opioid-dependent patients to a physician who can treat them. Physicians who prescribe buprenorphine may also find it necessary to refer a patient to a specialist, for example, if the patient is non-compliant, has other complicating conditions, or is currently on a high dose of methadone.
  • Online data bases of buprenorphine providers and treatment centers can help you find addiction specialists.
  • When talking to a patient about referral, emphasize that addiction is a treatable, chronic disease; a referral is indicated as it would be for any chronic disease; and that the patient may return to the primary practice for ongoing care.
  • Use sensitive interviewing techniques, such as "Ask-Tell-Ask" when recommending a referral
  • Provide printed patient education material when making a referral