In spite of all the safeguards built into the drug when it was developed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and pharmaceutical firm Reckitt Benckiser, addicts are diverting the drug from its original use by crushing the pills, injecting them and even selling them on the street.
"The issue of diversion has been out there since 2004," said Dr. H. Westley Clark, director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. "We've been concerned about that, and we will continue to be concerned about that."
A panel of federal experts studying the buprenorphine problem, made the following recommendations:
- Placing sterner warning labels on the drug
- Better training for prescribing physicians
- Improved monitoring of prescriptions and supplies.