State officials plan to give some junkies an addictive drug while they’re in prison and supply them with it when they’re paroled, reports the New York Daily News. The experiment, designed to keep inmates off heroin when they hit the streets, is drawing fire from those who fear it will fuel a black market for the pill. It’s called Suboxone; it is the only opiate addiction treatment prescribed by doctors and available from the local pharmacy.
It has been hailed as a wonder drug because it curbs addicts’ craving for heroin without getting them high if taken properly. It also is highly addictive. The small orange tablets – known as “bupes” for their main component, buprenorphine – are being sold on the streets. “Hooking inmates on an addictive opiate drug as they’re about to be released from prison sounds like a poorly thought-out policy,” said Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan. “It’s asking for trouble to put a drug that people want to buy into the hands of prisoners reentering society.” New York police cases involving the illegal sale of Suboxone have skyrocketed from 59 in 2007 to 287 last year. There were 268 cases in the first seven months of this year.