Detox drug is Georgia’s new habit


Sundays will be deja vu day for a while. I’m going back to the beginning of the blog and reposting old posts. This post was originally posted on 6/15/2006. In 2006, buprenorphine was pretty new in the U.S. and we were big fans of it for detox. This was one of the first signs of trouble.


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.

One thought on “Detox drug is Georgia’s new habit

  1. I’ve seen treatment doctors giving doses that are too high for opiate naïve patients, for instance someone that was abusing drugs such as hydrocodone, oxycodone are being given doses that are getting them higher than the abused drugs did. I think they are prescribing it for long periods of time without sufficient compliance testing. It is a great drug to help transition from addiction to sobriety if it’s monitored properly. I had a 15 year habit of abusing opiates with the last six years on Fentanyl in very high doses, and suboxone was the only thing helped with the withdrawal so I could do the next right thing to stay clean. It took three years of suboxone treatment but when I was ready my Doctor tapered the dose and I have been free from abusing opiates since then.


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