The Obama Administration just recently announced their efforts to ease the restrictions on buprenorphine, or more commonly known as Suboxone.
Suboxone is the opiate based medication that is said to be the safer alternative to methadone; the drug that “fights” heroin addiction.
Currently, doctors who are licensed to prescribe buprenorphine are permitted to treat up to a maximum of 100 patients. The president plans to almost triple that number to 275 by August, a change that does not require congressional approval.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports an estimated 70,000 new patients will be reached within the first year.
While Suboxone has its benefits in terms of easing the detox process and harm reduction, it surely has its disadvantages.
Nearly 15 years ago, after the FDA approved buprenorphine to the American public, Congress had its doubts. They feared the medication would be abused. Hence, the 100 patient cap.
Many supporters argue there should be no restriction on the number of patients prescribed Suboxone. The likelihood of this happening would not be any time soon, because it would need to be approved by Congress.
Some lawmakers and supporters do not realize the potential harm caused by Suboxone. Maybe it’s due to what they have been told by doctors or just plain ignorance. Buprenorphine is an opiate based narcotic, one that may not create the same euphoria as heroin, but has the equal ability to be addictive.
More often we see people enter drug treatment to detox and recover from a Suboxone addiction. Their intention was to only use the drug to get off of heroin. But then months passed by, even years. Before they knew it, they couldn’t manage to stop. They were hooked.
Currently, 650,000 people are prescribed buprenorphine. And, we must not forget those that seek it illegally. Now our government wants to make this drug readily available to 70,000 more people.
Again, that’s only the number of patients under the “care” of a doctor. We have to assume, based off of our history, that at least a portion of those patients will illegally sell their medicine.
This story seems all too familiar. Are we continuing to repeat the same cycle?
Practically a 150 years ago, after the Civil War came to an end and America was in the height of morphine addiction, heroin was created. Doctors and the government told us that this innovative drug would be the safe, non-addictive alternative to morphine.
So what are we really doing here? Are we saving lives, or are we just prolonging death?
We Have A Different Way
Clearbrook understands with the variety of different treatment methods available today, this can be a confusing time for someone who needs treatment.
You have probably wondered, “Where do I begin?”
If you are interested in a chemical-free life, no longer being a hostage to the mental obsession and physical craving, we can offer that to you.
Contact our Admissions Specialists today for further information.