Use of diverted buprenorphine

A very interesting CESAR Fax this week.

They report on a study finding that 69% of non-injection drug users surveyed reported using buprenorphine (Suboxone) to get high, while 32% of injection drug users surveyed reported using it to get high.

I think that both numbers are high enough to raise concern, but the difference in the use patterns between the groups is also very interesting. The report offers the authors’ guesses:

The authors suggest that these differences may be because IDUs have a greater severity of dependence—they were more likely to report high frequency opioid use, a history of enrollment in methadone maintenance treatment, and utilization of detoxification services. The authors also note that “The number of opioid users in our sample who reported having ever used buprenorphine/naloxone to ‘get high’ is surprising, given that buprenorphine/naloxone is a partial opioid agonist that is not expected to produce euphoria in regular users with a tolerance to opioids. It is possible that some participants, particularly noninjecting opioid users, did not use opioids regularly enough to develop significant tolerance” (p. 5).

3 thoughts on “Use of diverted buprenorphine

  1. When I was prescribed suboxone I crushed and snorted it and was able to experience some ‘high’ from it / while on it. A very well respected scientist I know suggested in all earnestness treating depression with buprenorphine and I was just horrified. I think you need a damn good reason to give a population at risk of addiction a narcotic treatment, and then it’s probably useless, anyway, unless accompanied by serious therapy.


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