Buprenorphine is the only opiate addiction therapy drug that can be prescribed in a physician’s office; others must be dispensed in a clinic. For some people there is a stigmatizing effect that can come along with clinic-based therapy, so buprenorphine reduces this effect because of its office availability.
However, like methadone, an addict can become susceptible to it. Due to a widespread increase in prescription drug abuse in the United States, certain safeguards needed to be put in place before the medication could be made available to the public. Buprenorphine, due to its potential for abuse was rescheduled by the FDA from a Schedule V drug to a Schedule III, which ultimately increases the penalties for illegally obtaining, possessing, or abusing buprenorphine.