As the opiate addiction epidemic in America continues to escalate, problem areas keep popping up that indicate a lot more needs to be done. For example, despite many people touting opioid maintenance programs as being the best route for treating and addiction to heroin or prescription painkillers, there is also the fact that those medications are also heavily abused.
As recent proof of this trend, a report from Pennsylvania indicated that Suboxone was now the most smuggled substance found in some of the prisons.
“It started probably as soon as Suboxone became available on the outside. It started in little dribs and drabs where we would have one incident or two incidents, finding something new in the mail coming through,” said Julio M. Algarin, warden of Montgomery County prison. “Any prescribed drug or controlled substance in a facility can be abused and will create nothing but problems.”
Algarin is right that these drugs can be abused. Buprenorphine is the active opiate narcotic in Suboxone. While some treatment professionals do advocate its use as an ongoing maintenance drug, most recommend to steer clear of replacement drugs or only use them sparingly in short-term tapering programs.
In an effort to curb the abuse potential for the drug, the makers of Suboxone switched its delivery method from a pill form into a dissoluble strip. For prisoners, though, this meant it was easier to send in doses of the drug hidden in regular envelopes by placing the strips behind the stamp or in the creases.
As a general rule, we try to help people find more permanent rehabilitation options that don’t use long-term replacement drugs. We’ve seen too many people become addicted to drugs like buprenorphine and methadone to feel comfortable recommending opioid maintenance therapy.
If you have a loved one struggling with an addiction to heroin, painkillers or any other drug, contact us today to learn more about successful intervention and treatment practices.