This is news to me. I did not know that there was any serious misuse potential with buprenorphine. I poked around a little and confirmed that there are problems with buprenorphine misuse in Finland and France. (I also found reports that widespread buprenorphine treatment has reduced overdoses by 79% in France.)
I wasn’t able to find a lot of information on the effects or how it’s used. I wondered if it is largely people just trying to avoid getting dopesick, but it appears that they inject it and use it with benzos.
I also found the following facts related to Finland:
- Buprenorphine was officially introduced in 1999.
- In 2002, 34% of heroin addicts reported buprenorphine as a secondary drug.
- By 2002, bupreneorphine became more common than heroin as the primary reason for entering treatment.
- In 2002, of those reporting buprenorphine as their primary problem, only 21% reported heroin as a secondary drug.
- By 2002, there were more buprenorphine seizures than heroin seizures.
- Heroin deaths are down significantly and there are very few buprenorphine deaths.
Finland may be an abberation in degree, but France appears to be having significant diversion issues too. (IV diversion rates of 20%.)
I’d love to hear what our doctor and drug rep friends have to say about this. Does it have the misuse potential that these reports suggest? Even if it does, it appears to result in significantly less harm.