SAMHSA sat on ‘bupe’ study

Misuse of bupe isn’t news to us, but it’s disappointing that SAMHSA sat on the info:

The federal agency that oversees buprenorphine treatment for narcotics addicts learned more than two years ago of illegal sales and abuse of the pills but did not reveal the findings as officials campaigned to expand use of the drug.

U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration records show that in December 2005, Vermont health officials advised the federal agency of some patients crushing and injecting the pills called Suboxone, trading or peddling them on the street – even smuggling them into the state’s prisons.

Agency officials hired consultants who confirmed those problems and others. Yet the agency didn’t tell Congress or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which has the power to order tighter controls over prescription drugs. Agency officials waited until Jan. 28 of this year to disclose the findings, which were posted on the SAMHSA Web site as “new” and a “comprehensive report” of buprenorphine abuse nationwide.

The report, which characterizes abuse of the drug as a “small but persistent problem,” is the first by the agency to provide detailed evidence of misuse as well as weaknesses in systems set up by Congress to guard against it.