Recently, the Obama administration has made it easier for people with opioid addictions to receive treatment. Suboxone, a brand of buprenorphine, is considered a form of medication assisted treatment. After several clinical trials it has shown to reduce opioid use and keep people in treatment longer. Suboxone itself is an opioid yet it eases withdrawal symptoms and does not make people high.
The growing heroin and painkiller epidemic is responsible for the second leading cause of death in the United States. Currently, 4 million people are believed to abuse prescription painkillers or heroin. In addition, on average 129 people die a day from opioid overdose. Expanding the criteria for doctor’s allowed to perform treatment on opioid addiction could open the door to giving 70,000 more people access.
Health and Human services are working to create these new rules that loosen restrictions. Doctors who are currently licensed to sell the are limited to 100 patients a year. New regulations will allow them to treat up to 275 people a year. An increase in this rate has the ability to have a very powerful positive impact on the community.
It appears that the stigma surrounding addiction still remains to be a large issue preventing effective treatment. A series of opioid treatment bills have been proposed yet don’t include all the funding President Obama requested. It appears that Congress remains stubborn when urged to allocate money toward addiction treatment programs.
Controversy surrounding suboxone lies within its addictive qualities. A suboxone addict is a new type of addict that has spiraled from this treatment method. Using the drug helps an individual quit taking other addictive and harmful drugs. Unfortunately, it sometimes creates a pattern of use that leads some to return to their original drug or to indefinitely use Suboxone in its place. Some believe that many addicts are merely replacing one drug with another.
In addition, similar to other opioids suboxone has street value. Patients attempt to sell it to sub for heroin. It can cause fatal overdoses if taken with other drugs or in large doses. The control on prescriptions are extremely limited for this reason doctors must be trained through the Drug Enforcement Administration and follow rules to keep it from getting to the streets.
Suboxone taken in a medical setting alongside counselling can help fight an opioid addiction and proves promising results. The structure in which these drugs are administrated needs to be tight in order to prevent addiction and new patterns of use. As regulations ease up doctor enforcement must remain high to deter any misuse. The integration of addiction treatment with primary care has the ability to curb this issue. Ultimately, suboxone has been seen to reduce relapses and overdoses.