Maryland health officials told state lawmakers yesterday that they were taking steps to minimize possible abuse of the addiction treatment buprenorphine as they spend millions to expand its availability, reports the Baltimore Sun. While insisting that misuse is currently not a serious problem, they outlined precautions in an appearance before a House of Delegates committee. These include screening for buprenorphine in overdose deaths, coordinating with police to monitor street sales and supporting a bill that would call for monitoring prescription drugs, including buprenorphine.
A three-day series in The Sun last month described how buprenorphine, prescribed as Suboxone for addiction treatment, is being sold by patients on the street. Addicts also are injecting and snorting the narcotic, according to health officials in several states and research from the drug’s manufacturer. Several health officials said during the hearing yesterday that addicts using the drug on the street mostly say they do so to avoid withdrawal, not to get high.