Tag: Suboxone

FDA-Approved Implant Solution to Nationwide Opiate Addiction?

New Jersey-based company Braeburn Pharmaceuticals recently developed an implantable device called probuphine, intended to treat opiate addiction in the same way as Suboxone – without such an extreme potential for abuse. The device is composed of four metal rods, each which slowly seep buprenorphine (a semisynthetic opioid medication) and are no larger than a matchstick. The steady flow of buprenorphine into the bloodstream of the ‘recovering’ addict would ideally help to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms, while potentially eliminating the risk of relapse (therefore diminishing the opiate-overdose related epidemic that has recently swept the nation). An advisory committee for The Food and Drug Administration voted 12 to 5 that the drug be medically approved for widespread use – and the medical community is typically prone to following such advice.

Braeburn Pharmaceuticals Formulates Drug to Help Drug Addicts Not Do Drugs

Opiate AddictionBecause Suboxone has been causing so much controversy throughout recovery communities based on its high potential for abuse, the conception of an implantable device that offers essentially the same exact solution seems kind of… well, stupid. Addicts are overdosing on the alleged ‘miracle’ drug, selling it and trading it for major profit or ‘the real deal’, and withdrawing from prolonged Suboxone abuse in droves. While the drug can play a major role in reducing potentially detrimental issues throughout the withdrawal stage of opiate recovery, it has seemingly become more of an issue than a Godsend.

So rather than prescribe recovering opiate addicts an opioid medication that (duh) they could potentially abuse, let’s stick an identically structured medication under their skin for six months so they cannot easily trade it for painkillers or take more than intended. Try and overdose on that, you sneaky little drug addicts, you!

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Here are the issues that this specific innovation presents:

  • The implant only lasts for six months.

And then what? No one knows. Addiction recovery is a lifelong process in most cases, so treating it for 6 month intervals raises some concern amongst medical professionals.

  • Adjustments are common, and will likely lead to Suboxone use anyways.

Many doctors who prescribe their patients Suboxone will end up adjusting the amount several times before settling on an adequate dosage. Once the probuphine is implanted, that’s it. So doctors assume that they will have to prescribe their implanted patients sublingual Suboxone anyways. So then… wait, sorry, what issue does this solve?

  • Experts are concerned that patients with the implant will neglect clinical check-ins.

‘Recovering’ addicts tend to keep on top of their clinical check-ins when taking Suboxone. Oh, how surprising. Doctors fear that if patients have no reason to hit up the office on a regular basis (to get their prescriptions filled), they will stop making an effort to attend regular counseling.

  • The nation is desperate, and desperation clouds judgment.

We want answers. Our friends are dying. Our family members our dying. We’re dying, and we want to get better. So, so desperately, sometimes, that we’re willing to listen to whomever tells us they’ve found a better way. Our judgment becomes cloudy with the urgency and the bitter anguish of active addiction. We reach for whatever promises to be fast-acting and efficient.

  • We are consistently covering a fatal and deep-rooted epidemic with a fucking Band-Aid.

The national opiate addiction epidemic is not one that can be easily solved with a little glue and some patience. It will take massive, massive amounts of serious, long-term treatment and even larger amounts of unrelenting altruism. And awareness, and preventative programs, and a cessation of the disturbing amounts of overprescribing taking place across the country.

Let’s Fight Fire With Fire, Guys, This Has Worked Historically

It seems somewhat insane to conclude that the overprescribing of opioid analgesic painkillers should be met with an increased prescribing of opioid analgesic painkillers. The number of prescriptions for painkillers like oxycodone and hydrocodone has skyrocketed from around 76 million in 1991 to nearly 207 million in 2013. The United States is by far the biggest global consumer, accounting for almost 100 percent of the world total for hydrocodone and 81 percent for oxycodone1. Overdose deaths due to prescription opioids have nearly quadrupled over the course of the past 20 years. An average of 46 American citizens dies EVERY DAY at the hands of prescription-related overdose. Is this because American backs are getting significantly weaker – drink your goddamn milk, everyone! Or because, perhaps, the pharmaceutical industry has so successfully perfected the art of gluttonous and coldblooded misapplication? “Oh no, you’re addicted to this drug? That’s horrible, we’re so sorry. Here, take this drug, this drug will help you not be addicted to that one.” Drugs on drugs on drugs on drugs – and where does it end?

If Something Is Helping You Not Die, Do It

If you were selling your sick little body for dope a month ago; if you were robbing old women at gunpoint and beating your wife and sticking needles deep into your veins on a daily basis – take the measures you need to take to not do those things. If buprenorphine helps you, take it. Take it for two weeks and then jump headfirst into the real shit. If you keep abusing Suboxone (because, you know, you’re a drug addict), and you feel like having some implanted into your skin will help you not abuse it so much, go for it. By all means. Do I have the right to judge any one individual’s program of recovery? Absolutely not. I’m not saying if this idea appeals to you, you are doing something wrong. All I’m attempting to do is to point out the fact that the American pharmaceutical industry is making an effort to solve the underlying issue of overprescribing with an intensification of national prescribing. It’s counterintuitive. Solving drug abuse by pumping addicts with more drugs is illogical and irresponsible. What government officials may want to seriously consider is the availability of adequate treatment. Those with no insurance and no financial means to attend inpatient drug rehab are at a complete loss. The national opiate epidemic has quickly turned into an appalling opportunity for those with an eye for avarice to profit interminably off of a cyclical and widely misunderstood affliction.

Opiate Addiction Recovery is a Highly Personal Journey

Drugs will never be purely good. Sometimes we need them – we need them to help us get better. Cancer patients need chemotherapy, but they don’t continue chemotherapy for the remainder of their lives in fear that one day the cancer will come back. They eat better and wear sunblock and quit smoking; whatever the case may be. They take care of their physical bodies to ward off the physical illness. As drug addicts, it is our responsibility to take whatever measures we personally need to take in order to thoroughly and authentically kick the habit. In many cases, this means undergoing a comprehensive psychic change. Working hard and helping others and learning to love ourselves pretty unconditionally. It’s difficult to do, but the results are pure and genuine and real and lasting.

What are your thoughts on the new implantable version of buprenorphine? We’re interested to hear your stance on the issue, and to hear about any personal experience you may have with opiate addiction and recovery.


Why are Federal Agencies Officially Recommending Suboxone & Methadone?

The New Standard for Treatment

In a move that’s sure to raise more than a few eyebrows, SAMHSA has officially endorsed medication-assisted therapies (also known as opioid replacement therapies).

substance abuse and mental health servies adminstration

While they’ve long been supporters of buprenorphine (Suboxone and Subutex) and methadone, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration recently added wording to their grant application that strongly encourages treatment centers to make use of these medicines – or else.

This new language can be found in SAMHSA’s 2016-2017 block grant application. If you’re wondering, like I was at first, just how much this comes out to – it’s a lot. They have awarded, or still will, just shy of $2 billion this year.

That astounding sum of money certainly ups the ante for SAMHSA’s recommendation. It also brings them up to speed with the rest of the federal government and the majority of the medical establishment.

White House drug czar Michael Botticelli – a man in long-term recovery himself – has pushed medication-assisted therapies for years. He even hinted earlier this year that SAMHSA would be updating their guidelines to reflect what federal drug courts have in place (an emphasis on using opioid replacement therapies).

Find out exactly what SAMHSA changed their grant language to below!

A TRULY non-addictive painkiller? Sounds like science-fiction…

What SAMHSA is Saying

While it’s a bit long and wordy, the official language of the 2016-2017 block application grant follows. You can also view it directly on the grant portion of SAMHSA’s site.

There is a voluminous literature on the efficacy of [Food and Drug Administration]-approved medications for the treatment of substance use disorders. However, many treatment programs in the U.S. offer only abstinence-based treatment for these conditions. SAMHSA strongly encourages the states to require that treatment facilities providing clinical care to those with substance use disorders be required to either have the capacity and staff expertise to use MAT or have collaborative relationships with other providers such that these MATs can be accessed as clinically indicated for patient need. Individuals with substance use disorders who have a disorder for which there is an FDA-approved medication treatment should have access to those treatments based upon each individual patient’s needs.

It’s important to note a few things before going on to explore just what this means for the future of the addiction treatment industry.

First, as a senior SAMHSA official pointed out, these are recommendations and nothing more. When a state is awarded a federal grant, it’s still up to them to spend it how they want. If Florida, for example, received a 2016-2017 SAMHSA grant, they would be under no obligation to mandate individual treatment centers make use of buprenorphine.

Still, this change in wording makes it appear that SAMHSA’s going to give preference to states that use opioid replacement therapy.

Second, even if federal block grants aren’t directly tied to states using medication-assisted therapies, some discretionary grants are. According to Anne Herron, the senior SAMHSA official mentioned above, the agency has began to include language in their discretionary grants that makes it mandatory for states to use buprenorphine and methadone.

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Does This Mean Everyone in Rehab is Going to Be on Suboxone?

That’s the question that’s being asked by many in the treatment industry. If a national agency like SAMHSA is increasingly making their grants conditional upon opioid replacement therapies – are federal and state funded rehabs going to medicate all their patients?

That answer isn’t as easy as simply saying yes or no, but the short answer is no.

Just because a treatment center makes use of medication-assisted therapy doesn’t mean they’re going to be pumping all their patients full of Suboxone or methadone. While it’s easy to image that as a worst-case scenario, it just isn’t likely to happen.

these pills arent suboxone or methadone but they look like them

Rather, the federal government’s shift towards embracing “science rather than ideology” signals a few things.

First, buprenorphine, methadone, and the like will largely be used during detox. Second, certain patients will likely remain on them throughout treatment and into their long-term recovery. Still, this is probably only going to happen if the patient meets a number of criteria.

In other words – the government isn’t saying that everyone in recovery should be taking buprenorphine. Far from it. They’re encouraging states and treatment centers to embrace what science has shown for some time – that, in certain cases, medication can have a positive impact on an individual’s recovery.

Sounds good to me. What do you think? Let us know on social media!

Are you sober if you take methadone?

Could This Mobile Methadone Clinic Help Fight Heroin Addiction?

An Innovative Solution to an Old Problem

medication assisted heroin therapy

Anne Arundel County, located just south of Baltimore, is tight in the grip of this country’s heroin epidemic. Consider that there were forty-eight overdose deaths in 2014 alone. Consider that there were 204 heroin related ER visits in 2013 alone.

Consider that Steve Schuh, the County Executive, declared heroin abuse to be a public health emergency this past January. Consider that from January to April of this year, sixteen people have overdosed and died.

Consider that, from a financial standpoint, Anne Arundel has paid over 2.5 million dollars since 2013 for citizens to get rides to methadone clinics. In fact, between now and this time last year, over 23,000 people have already taken these state-funded rides.

This program, helping opioid addicts without personal transportation or access to public transportation, is one way Anne Arundel County has been fighting heroin addiction. Well, thanks to a veteran substance abuse worker, there may be another way!

Enter Ron Grossman, who’s been involved in the mental health and addiction treatment fields for thirty-five years. He has plans for a mobile Suboxone and methadone clinic that would travel around the county. Not only would this save money for the state, but it would connect those that need treatment the most with help.

What’s Grossman’s name for his unique project? A Road Less Traveled. Up to now, it certainly has been. Let’s hope he can change that!

Methadone can save lives…but it has nasty withdrawal symptoms

Mobile Methadone Clinic? Sounds Strange

As heroin has tightened its stranglehold on Maryland, on the whole United States in fact, we’ve seen an uptick in medication-assisted therapy. This is as true in suburban Baltimore as it is in rural Indiana. Still, there remains some skepticism.

Case in point – there was recently a hotly debated fight over opening a methadone clinic in Pasadena, a small town in Anne Arundel County. This fight came on the heels of the County Health Officer, Dr. Jinlene Chan, admitted there was a lack of treatment services in the central and south parts of the county.

With this lack of resources in mind, Grossman and his partners came up with an innovative solution. Thus, A Road Less Traveled was born. What exactly is this program though? How will they make a methadone clinic mobile and, more importantly, will it positively impact Maryland’s fight against heroin?

Well, Grossman has teamed up with Dr. Lee Goodman. Goodman, an Annapolis based addiction professional, has high hopes for their mobile clinic. He’d like to see it treat 300 patients each day.

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Grossman and Goodman plan to accomplish this by making two stops daily, for four hours each time, across the street from participating pharmacies. Patients would come aboard the clinic and be seen by a doctor. They would then walk across the street and fill a prescription for methadone or Suboxone.

To keep patients accountable – after all, heroin addicts are a notoriously unreliable bunch – they would be tested before receiving a renewal on any prescriptions. Patients would also have access to a therapist at A Road Less Traveled, as well as receiving weekly counseling offsite.

So far, A Road Less Traveled is still in the planning stages. Grossman and Goodman are trying to obtain a formal agreement from the county before they begin operation. They’re also hopeful for other state funds available for medication-assisted therapy programs.

The Public Response Hasn’t Been Great

Despite offering a valuable service to an at-need population, A Road Less Traveled has received a less than stellar public reaction. Dr. Chan, the County Health Officer mentioned above, has had perhaps the best response – and hers is still ambiguous.

When asked about Grossman and Goodman’s project, Dr. Chan responded,

“It’s not necessarily a good idea or a bad idea…If it can be executed well and it provides good service for the residents of Anne Arundel County, then I would be a proponent of it” (Capital Gazette).

A Road Less Traveled has faced a similar response from County Executive Steve Schuh. Despite trying to meet with Schuh since he took office in January, Grossman and Goodman have yet to sit down with him. Schuh’s spokesperson did issue a statement that county officials are interested in the idea, but need a “better grasp of the proposal.”

A number of local politicians are also hesitant to the mobile methadone clinic model. Councilman Andrew Pruski offered limited support, saying that A Road Less Traveled was worth looking at. Councilman Derek Fink offered a similar response. He said that while medication-assisted therapy clinics can be beneficial, they shouldn’t impact the quality of life of county residents.

It looks like public officials aren’t flocking to this idea of a mobile methadone clinic. It looks like they’re waiting to see how others respond and whether the public picks up support for the idea. This despite the fact that people are dying in record numbers from heroin and painkiller overdoses.

mobile methadone clinic

Look, I’m not an expert on methadone clinics and medication-assisted therapies. I’m not a doctor or a public health official. I do, however, have firsthand experience with heroin addiction and overdose. I struggled with it for several years before finally getting sober.

In my opinion, and this is just my opinion, anything that has the potential to save lives is a good thing. While more traditional, abstinence based approaches are still the gold standard for addiction treatment – A Road Less Traveled could save lives. What else do you need to know?

Why are some addicts seeking rehab in the ER?

Is Suboxone REALLY Effective at Blocking Heroin & Painkillers?

How Long Does Suboxone Last?

Medication assisted therapies, opioid replacement therapies, methadone and buprenorphine maintenance…there are a lot of options when it comes to using medicine to recover from addiction.

how long does suboxone last for
Suboxone packaging via Wikimedia Commons

The most popular option over the past several years has been, by far, Suboxone maintenance. With dedicated buprenorphine doctors and “sub clinics” opening all over the country, it may seem like everyone is on Suboxone.

While this isn’t the case, it is a first line of attack for many in the addiction treatment field. Still, Suboxone doesn’t come without downsides. For the sake of brevity, we’re only focusing on one here – how long does Suboxone last?

This question, while seemingly simple, is actually fairly complex. To figure out how long Suboxone lasts, we need to look at a variety of factor, including Suboxone’s half-life, what other medication a patient is taking, and how long Suboxone blocks opioids for.

This last part, how long Suboxone blocks opioids, is vital to understanding how long it lasts. That is to say – while buprenorphine may work in an individual’s body for hours, how long does it actually block opioids for?

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the half-life of Suboxone and what impact it has on the question “how long does Suboxone last?”

Do painkillers serve ANY use anymore? You may be surprised by the answer

Suboxone’s Half-Life

Before we get into the scientific stuff, let’s first define half-life (just kidding, this is all scientific…apologies in advance). Simply put, half-life is how long it takes for the body to metabolize and eliminate half of a given chemical. There’s also something called “steady-state,” which is when the amount of a particular substance is balanced fifty-fifty between coming in and going out.

It’s important to note that when someone takes a medicine regularly, say a daily dose of Suboxone, the half-life becomes longer. This is due to the chemical building up in tissues, organs, etc.

So, how long does Suboxone last? How long is Suboxone’s half-life? Well, it ultimately depends on the individual taking the drug. Generally speaking, the half-life of Suboxone is between twenty-four and forty-eight hours. That’s just a ballpark estimate though.

Depending on how long an individual has taken buprenorphine for, the dose, how frequently they take it, their weight, their metabolism, and any other medications (legal or illegal) they may be taking…that number can change.

So, for example, Suboxone may last for longer, and have a greater half-life, if someone is taking eight milligrams daily, has been for years, and is overweight. It may have a shorter half-life if they’re taking two milligrams every other day.

It’s also important to note that Suboxone may still block opioids even if it has a short half-life in a particular individual.

Having explored the basics about Suboxone’s half-life, let’s turn our attention fully to how long Suboxone blocks opioids for.

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How Long Does Suboxone Block Opioids?

How long Suboxone lasts is a tricky question when it comes to blocking opioids. In other words, as mentioned above, it may last for hours, but only block the effects of narcotics for a short period of that time.

How long does Suboxone block opioids for? Well, generally speaking, it blocks them for around one day. This time can be significantly longer, though, depending on a variety of factors. Again, things like dose, frequency, weight, and metabolism come into play.

Suboxone can block opioids for as long as three days. Although that’s rather rare, it has happened. It’s interesting to note that it’s not only the naloxone in Suboxone that blocks opioids for so long. Buprenorphine itself is a potent chemical and binds tightly to opioid receptors in the brain.

So, how long does Suboxone lasts? How long does Suboxone block opioids? It all depends on the individual, but generally speaking it’s one to three days.

If you’re struggling with painkiller or heroin abuse, reach out for professional help. Suboxone maintenance is one way to go, but why not explore all available options? Call Lighthouse today to learn about alternatives to buprenorphine!

People are overdosing and government officials don’t know why…

The Ugly Truth about Suboxone Withdrawal

Suboxone Withdrawal

Getting off Suboxone stinks. That’s the simple truth about coming off this opioid. Suboxone withdrawal symptoms are unpleasant and last for longer than “normal” opioid withdrawal. Subutex withdrawal isn’t much better (I explore the differences between the two below).

I say this as a former addict and someone who now works in addiction treatment. You’ll get a lot of opinions about Suboxone withdrawal. There’s the good, the bad, and the ugly.

suboxone withdrawal symptoms
via Wikimedia Commons

I think it’s important to emphasis the bad and the ugly, as well as the good, to give everyone an accurate picture of what buprenorphine (Suboxone’s chemical name) withdrawal is really like.

So, let’s get right into it. Find out the truth about Suboxone detox below.

Why are more & more people seeking buprenorphine treatment in the ER?

Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms

Suboxone withdrawal symptoms aren’t pleasant. Truth be told, many addicts continue using simply to avoid the pain of detox. I know that was a driving force for me. After starting Suboxone and Subutex for “management” of my addiction, I found myself just as physically hooked as when using heroin.

Personal experience aside, find a list of various Suboxone withdrawal symptoms below. Remember though, everyone reacts differently to drugs. You may not experience all of these Suboxone detox symptoms.

Common Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms include:

• Insomnia

• Irritability

• Sweating & Shaking

• Nausea & Vomiting

• Diarrhea

• Restless Leg Syndrome

• Anxiety & Depression

• Muscle, Joint & Bone Pain

• Raised Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

• Raised Heart Rate (Tachycardia)

The best advice I can give for helping manage the above Suboxone withdrawal symptoms is to seek professional help! This can be from a doctor, a hospital, a detox, or an addiction treatment center.

Remember, the actual Suboxone detox is only your first step towards recovery. There’s much more introspection and self-searching that needs to be done. Don’t suffer alone. Help is only a phone call away!

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Suboxone vs. Subutex Withdrawal

There’s an important distinction to make between Suboxone and Subutex withdrawal. Although these two drugs sound similar, and in fact are very similar, they have slightly a different chemical make up and detox symptoms.

Suboxone is a brand name pill made up of a mixture of buprenorphine and the opioid antagonist naloxone (commonly referred to as Narcan). The combination of an opioid and an “anti-opioid” is to deter abuse. Suboxone is available as a tablet, an injectable solution, and a sublingual film.

Subutex, on the other hand, is pure buprenorphine. It contains no other active chemicals. This makes it slightly more addicting than Suboxone, as well as, in theory, harder to detox from.

We’ve laid out common Suboxone withdrawal symptoms above, but what about Subutex withdrawal? How does it compare to its chemical cousin? Does it produce a worse detox or a milder one?

how to get off suboxone
via Wikimedia Commons

Well, having abused both AND used both to help wean myself off heroin, I can safely say that Subutex withdrawal is milder than Suboxone withdrawal. I don’t know why. All signs point to Subutex detox being worse…but it isn’t.

I experienced fewer symptoms during Subutex withdrawal and it was shorter. Probably the most notable difference was my anxiety level. On Suboxone, and detoxing from it, my anxiety was through the roof. With Subutex, on the other hand, I had minimal anxiety. This was true even during the soul-crushing period us addicts call detox.

I couldn’t tell you why. Better minds than mine may be able to. All I can offer is my experience, strength, and hope. Speaking of hope, let’s shift our attention to how to get off Suboxone once and for all!

Why is the government pushing the use of Suboxone in drug courts?

How to Get Off Suboxone For Good!

Having explored common Suboxone withdrawal symptoms and the difference between Subutex and Suboxone detox, the only area left to cover is how to get off Suboxone.

While this question may seem like a no brainer, it’s a bit trickier than simply detoxing and calling it a day. Addiction, be it to Suboxone, heroin, cocaine, or anything else, requires time and treatment to overcome. It requires a physical care component, a mental health component, a life skills component, and a spiritual health component.

In short, it requires something called Comprehensive Addiction Treatment. Thankfully, that’s the banner that we operate under at Lighthouse Recovery Institute. We offer comprehensive addiction treatment in a gender-specific setting. This allows for mental and emotional growth that’s unparalleled.

You want to know how to get off Suboxone? Simple – seek out the best professional help available. Will that make getting off Suboxone easy? Nope. It will, however, make it possible. And possible, ladies and gentleman, is the first step towards health and happiness. Remember, we can all change!

Federal Government in Favor of Suboxone

A New Approach to Drug Court

In a move that’s sure to ruffle some feathers, the federal government is throwing its weight around to make Suboxone mandatory in many drug courts.

According to Michael Botticelli, the Director of the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy, the government will begin to cut off federal funding to drug courts that ban Opioid Replacement Therapies. These are things like methadone and Suboxone maintenance.

government suboxone regulations

Botticelli is quoted as saying,

“Part of what we’ve been working on at the federal level is to strengthen our contractual language around those grants…if you are getting federal dollars that you need to make sure that people, one, have access to these medications [and two], that we’re not basically making people go off these medications, particularly as a participant of drug court” (Huffington Post).

Meanwhile, Pamela Hyde, a senior administrator from SAMHSA, is quoted as saying, “We’ve made that clear: If they want our federal dollars, they cannot do that [ban opioid therapy] … We are trying to make it clear that medication-assisted treatment is an appropriate approach to opioids” (Huffington Post).

The White House’s collaboration with SAMHSA is the first step in an expected widespread reform of US drug policy. Targeting drug courts that have banned Suboxone and the like is the beginning of a new chapter in how addiction is treated in America.

Is there a vaccine for heroin addiction?

The Current State of Suboxone

Suboxone, which goes by the chemical name buprenorphine, is a semisynthetic opioid that behaves in interesting ways. It’s both an opioid agonist and antagonist. This means it simultaneously activates and deactivates the brain’s opioid receptors.

In layman’s terms, buprenorphine eliminates cravings, while at the same time preventing withdrawal and the euphoric effects of opioids (if someone tries to relapse while on the drug).

It’s currently tough for addicts to get a prescription for Suboxone. This is based on federal regulation of the drug, which is classified as a Schedule III narcotic. In order to prescribe buprenorphine, doctors must have a special certification. They’re also limited to treating 100 medication assisted therapy patients at a time.

According to a prosecutor from Ohio, who spoke to the Huffington Post, changing Suboxone use in drug courts is more complicated than the federal government updating funding regulations. The prosecutor said,

“…whether we permit Suboxone use or not [by defendants] is irrelevant if no local doctor is willing or able to prescribe it. And our clinicians feel that Suboxone is unlikely to be effective in this community with the lack of integration in the health care system. Even if we were to allow participants [in drug court] to use Suboxone, there would have to be significant structural changes before it would be recommended” (Huffington Post).

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A Shifting Landscape

So, how are these “significant structural changes” going to be made? Well, in some cases, Washington is receiving help from state governments.

drug court

Minnesota State Senator Chris Eaton has picked up the torch of Suboxone reform on a state level. Senator Eaton’s daughter passed away from a drug overdose in 2007. Since then, Eaton has been campaigning to change regulations around Opioid Replacement Therapy, both in drug courts and on a statewide scale.

Further evidence that “significant structural changes” must be made comes from the very way drug courts are funded. In some instances, drug courts may not have to implement new government policies regarding buprenorphine due to the fact that many drug courts are state funded, rather than receiving federal dollars. These courts can choose to implement or ignore federal guidelines at their own discretion.

Will the federal government ever be able to impose new regulations around drug courts and the therapies they allow? That remains unclear. What is clear, though, is the change that does need to be implemented.

It’s no hyperbole to say America is in the midst of an opioid epidemic. The federal government is attempting to change that. They’re attempting to shift the tide in the fight against painkillers. And everyone, regardless of politics or personal beliefs, can appreciate that.

Learn more about Opioid Replacement Therapy

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