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The Holistic Sanctuary Rebukes The New Republic’s Attempt to Destigmatize Buprenorphine and Suboxone
Date:12/2/2013

rt, since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now report that unsupervised ingestion of buprenorphine-containing products by children is listed as a growing concern.(6) Long before this latest threat, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Center for Substance Abuse Treatment warned about physicians who may lack sufficient knowledge to prescribe buprenorphine appropriately, or do not have the resources or motivation to adequately monitor patients’ progress post-prescription. Patients – driven by various motivations – also contribute to this crisis through evasive and deceptive behaviors such as “doctor-shopping.”(7) Even on a regional level, in a city like Baltimore, the news about buprenorphine does not reconcile with The New Republic’s description of a wonder drug. The Baltimore Sun reveals that a third to a half of the buprenorphine patients in area clinics flunked urine tests, indicating that they had been taking illegal or unauthorized drugs. People treated with suboxone do no better or worse than addicts on any other type of treatment, the article states.(8)

In addition, the Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR) at the University of Maryland at College Park, reports that more than half of buprenorphine-related emergency department visits in the U.S. are for nonmedical use of the drug, according to data from the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN). Of the estimated 23,450 emergency department visits in which buprenorphine was involved as either a direct cause or a contributing factor to the visit, 61% were for nonmedical use of the drug.(9) And finally, among teenagers and young adults treated in emergency rooms for any reason, 10.4 percent admit they have misused a prescription painkiller such as buprenorphine at least once in the last year.(10) Again, these factors all run counter to the New Republic’s use of the words wonder drug, given the health threats connected to buprenorphine.

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