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Officials Outline Plan to Curb Buprenorphine Abuse

By March 6, 2008

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Buprenorphine, marketed under the brand name Suboxone, was developed as a safer alternative for treating people addicted to heroin and painkillers compared to methadone. It was also designed to be resistant to abuse, but it hasn't turned out that way.

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.

Officials recommended that doctors get to know their patients better to determine if they are abusing the drug before prescribing a full 30-day supply of Suboxone.

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Photo: Clipart.com
March 6, 2008 at 8:33 am
(1) Tim says:

“It was also designed to be resistant to abuse, but it hasn’t turned out that way.”

This isn’t true. It is resistant and preforming better than expected. Nothing is abuse proof, especially among a population with the disease of abuse. The same panel you cite, also concluded that although some misuse occurs and was expected, overwhelmingly the medication has been a success, and most of the diversion isn’t for abuse, but to self medicate. Since treatment is difficult to get for many due to the unprecedented restrictions placed on this lifesaving medication, people are forced to obtain it illegally until they can find a physician with capacity to treat. The tint amount of abuse has been blown out of proportion by overzealous reporters looking for sensationalism. The fact is buprenorphine is a poor choice for anyone intent on getting high, it blocks other opioids for days, has a ceiling to its effects, and can initiate withdrawal if not used under a doctor’s care.

March 6, 2008 at 9:04 am
(2) alcoholism says:

The story doesn’t say buprenorphine is not effective for treatment of addiction, it says that it has been diverted for abuse and the government is concerned about that.

Here is another article from the Baltimore Sun.


March 11, 2008 at 8:32 am
(3) paulch66 says:

Just another substitute. You can’t cure drug addiction with drugs>>>>>>….

March 22, 2008 at 8:10 pm
(4) John says:

I had been taking at least 15 norco a day 10mg of hydrocodone 250mg of acetaminophen each for the better part of 17 years without a doubt killing myself, now I take 1 Suboxone a day so you can call it substituting, I call it a life saving miracle and there isn’t any substitute for life! I wonder what these people who have so much time to worry about everyone else’s lives are trying so hard to bury about there own.

June 3, 2008 at 1:11 pm
(5) brad says:

man i hate ppl like u i have been taking 4 oc 80′s a day or 30 tab tens n i just started on suboxone n im prescribed to 4 8mg tablets a day. n it has worked amazing! you dont understand unless u have went though it u cant just go cold turkey when u take that many. i dont care for methadone or the way their program works but sub. is differant it saved my life n my relationships

October 27, 2008 at 6:03 pm
(6) Wendy says:

unfortunately, my husband and I thought subox was a lifesaver. It’s just a more expensive drug for him to abuse. He’s clearly not ready.

November 15, 2008 at 8:14 pm
(7) Kevin says:

Drugs and addicts are part of our economy now, without strict drug laws prisons would empty out and the services that render these institutions would crumble; jobs lost, influences nullified, power lost. Overnight painless detox $6,000 … what, my insurance won’t cover that. I just don’t know what to say, either way you cannot win. You have the people who use drugs and you have the people who don’t, those who do but don’t tell; they number more than you’d think. I used heroin from age 16 (56 now) I am taking Suboxone, I don’t have to hustle anymore, or go to jail; I like that right about now. I’m on SSDI, a fixed income. I am not a stupid man, nor am I a genius, but I have been crippled emotionally, as I am antisocial, indifferent, prone to mood swings, basically, I exist and that’s it! I’ve been harmed physically through years of chronic drug use as well. Why did I do this to myself? How do you express the inexpressible? Listen:Invent a device that would allow one and other to “experience” one and other. I live in your head for a day, you live in mine; at some point we sit, face one and other, compare and sum up our lives at eye level. No handicap, no intellectualizing, no excuses. I’ll bet many issues, including this one, would solve them selves. Yeah, yeah the old “Walk a mile in my moccasins”,shoes, sandals whatever. “Wisdom”, worthless if not heeded, or understood. I know a man who, as a child, had a bad experience with someone from NYC. To this day, he hates anyone from there, though he doesn’t even remember the particulars of the incident. At this stage in our process of evolution, humanity is not prepared to deal with this HUGE issue of drugs. Shit, it’s easier to justify, approve of, and carry out shooting someone in the head because you are told he’s the bad guy, the enemy then it is to resolve the “what do we do about drugs” issue. I’m on the sidelines to watch now, a non-participant, gimme a good loyal (“I love unconditionally”) dog and I can hope that the next sentient species does a better job. What, you think this will go on forever? Or that just maybe the next generation, we’re already molding into our image, and passing our bullshit on to will do better? We were entrusted with this planet in the first place by virtue of our ability to reason and merely as stewards, not dominators. Everyone one earth should be enjoying everything on earth, but we just won’t allow it. Sadly, everything we touch, we eventually ruin. Humans have been nothing but arrogant, dangerous and wrong since we came out of the trees and bushes upright.They’ll be no science fiction New Adam and Eve, who’ll begin again. Ya don’t see a T-Rex walkin’ around wearing a Peace sign do ya. Sorry, but this is it my fellow bipedal rulers of land and sea. I’ve a feeling there is something else in the universe, they must have intelligence too; they avoid us, don’t they? “Suboxone, good, or bad? Film at 11:00 EST” Lap it up! And add your comments here, or there, or over there, or …..

January 19, 2011 at 4:32 am
(8) Dave says:

I was on suboxone 19mg for about 3 weeks one morning i woke up and said to myself f this im goint to just stop and thats what i did ..the next week was terrible flicking around like a fish … in australia you have to go to a nominated chemist shop to get your daily dose and line up with the junkies not to mention being called in at any time for a urine sample to make sure your towing the line i found the medication to be a contadiction and was warned by others in treatment that its phyc affects arnt nice they kept saying if you have the choice go for bupe or meth

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