More clinics file applications for Suboxone license, half are in North East Tennessee

JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) - A month after a new state law requiring licenses for Suboxone clinics went into effect more than 30 clinics across the state have filed applications.

News Channel 11 has uncovered that half of those applications are for Suboxone clinics here in North East Tennessee.

"A lot of this stuff we have already complied to," Dr. Alan Otengco said.

Ongtengco or Doctor O works with Morgan Counseling services in Johnson City.

It is one of the only places so far in North East Tennessee that has been issued a new state required license. That license allows the state to regulate clinics that prescribe addiction medication like Suboxone.

Doctor O says some of the big changes under the new law regarding patients include,"Follow up case managing and trying to get more people involved in their care."

He says another big change, was having to be a board certified addictionologist. He had to have that certification before his new license to prescribe Soboxone could be issued by the state.

Staubus is still pushing for more strict regulations for Suboxone clinics and continues his conversation with lobbyist and area doctors.

"I don't think the rules go far enough yet. I think that there are some exemptions that allow some doctors to fly under the radar. I also think there is not enough emphasis on getting off Suboxone and getting sober and clean," Staubus said.

Out of the 36 applicants requesting suboxone licenses 18 of those are located in the Tri-Cities. Staubus says he isn't at all surprised,"It is a severe problem that goes along with are Oxycodone, Opioid use and also goes along with our meth use where an area of lot of bad drugs are being consumed."

"it is needed in this area especially, there are a lot of people suffering and we need to help these people," Dr. O said.

For the time being doctor o and his team will be working closely with the state to make sure they are in compliance with the law

and continue working to combat drug addiction throughout the area.

No firm deadline or penalties have been put in place just yet for those clinics that have not obtained their license.

Copyright 2017 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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