Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) December 12, 2013 — One powerful weapon against prescription painkiller addiction is now the subject of intense legal and media scrutiny.
Buprenorphine, or “bupe”, as it is commonly called, is a drug approved by the FDA in 2002 for use in treatment of addiction to heroin, prescription painkillers such as oxycodone and other opioids. In the wake of the law enforcement crackdown on Florida’s pill mills, effective medical addiction treatment is essential. But as Tampa pill mill attorney Robert Joyce explains, buprenorphine itself is subject to abuse, and prescriptions for the drug are therefore severely limited. This means those who need it sometimes have difficulty acquiring it.
“Doctors who prescribe buprenorphine are subject to strict limitations,” Mr. Joyce said. “They must undergo lengthy training, provide counseling and may only have up to 100 active prescriptions at any one time. They are then subject to intense scrutiny by the Drug Enforcement Administration.”
Additionally, nurse practitioners and physicians’ assistants cannot prescribe the drug. This restriction disproportionately affects addicts in rural areas, where these professionals are often primary health care providers.
Buprenorphine is far more difficult than methadone — another drug commonly prescribed to opioid addicts to stave off withdrawal — to abuse in order to obtain a “high”. For this reason, buprenorphine may be prescribed for use at home, unlike methadone, which requires daily trips to special clinics.
But the drug is still subject to abuse, so strict policies govern its administration. Addicts seeking a high may mix the drug with other drugs and/or crush, snort or inject it in order to accelerate their bodies’ absorption rate. Recent lengthy reports on these dangers featured in The Baltimore Sun and The New York Times have contributed to the stigma surrounding the drug.
During a six-month span in 2003, 402 deaths linked to overdoses of buprenorphine were reported to the Food and Drug Administration. But over roughly the same period, 2,826 deaths were attributed to methadone. Both those figures pale in comparison to the over 19,000 deaths attributed to opioid overdoses in 2010.
“After taking care of pill mills in Florida, now we need to make sure we take care of those who have become addicted to powerful painkillers,” Mr. Joyce added. “Buprenorphine is one important tool with which to do that, and I hope to see policies put in place to ensure that those who need it can get it.”
Learn more at http://www.joyceandreyespa.com
Joyce and Reyes Law Firm, P.A.
307 S Hyde Park Ave
Tampa, FL 33606