Police Seizures Of “Bupe” Rise In Baltimore Area


Police seizures of buprenorphine, which is sold as Suboxone, increased rapidly in the Baltimore area least year, the same year that local and state government began spending millions to expand use of the narcotic to treat opiate addicts, the Baltimore Sun reports. The numbers provide evidence of growing illegal sales and abuse of buprenorphine, a trend seen nationally. “I think [buprenorphine is] the fad; it’s the latest thing on the block,” said Dr. J. Ramsay Farah, past president of the Maryland Society of Addiction Medicine. “People who are on drugs like to experiment with new things.”

Doctors prescribe Suboxone to help ease addicts’ withdrawal symptoms and mute their cravings for heroin and opiate-based pain pills such as OxyContin. Some people can get high on the drug, especially if they crush the pills and inject or snort them. A series published by the Sun in December disclosed how the growth of Suboxone prescribing has fueled illegal sales, mainly because some patients are selling pills. Addiction experts say the upward trend of “bupe,” Suboxone’s street name, must be heeded. “It’s important to learn from the numbers, even though they may not be huge,” said Michael Gimbel, director of substance abuse education at Sheppard Pratt Health System. “They show enough of a dramatic increase to ask questions: How is it getting it on the street? Where is it coming from? And how can we stop or slow the diversion?”

Link: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/health/bupe/bal-te.md.bupe18apr18,0,1845556.story

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