As Massachusetts faces an explosion in OxyContin and heroin abuse, doctors in the state are outpacing much of the nation with their interest in Suboxone, the new “addiction-busting” drug for opioid abusers, reports the Boston Herald. Of the 7,500 doctors authorized to prescribe Suboxone nationally, 413 are from the Bay State, making Massachusetts one of the top 10 hubs for the drug nationally, said Nick Reuter of the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Services Administration.
Suboxone, which is manufactured by the British company Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals Inc., is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine curbs cravings for heroin or narcotic painkillers by binding to the same opioid receptors those drugs target in the brain. “I think it's a good drug. It's not a panacea, but it helps them get into treatment,” said Dr. Ronald Pike, medical director at Worcester-based AdCare Hospital. Suboxone users may suffer from heroin, prescription painkiller addiction, or both. “The success rate, based on the literature and my experience, is 50 percent sober in six months. which is far better than anything else that's around,” said Dr. Ira Mintzer of Cambridge Health Alliance. Doctors must complete eight hours of training to get a waiver to prescribe the drug.