Feds Seek Ways to Expand Use of Addiction Drug

White House“The government’s top drug abuse experts are struggling to find ways to expand use of a medicine that is considered the best therapy for treating heroin and painkiller addiction.

Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan on Wednesday pressed officials from the White House, the National Institute of Drug Abuse and other agencies to increase access to buprenorphine, a medication which helps control drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms. It remains underused a decade after its launch.

“As long as we have too few doctors certified to prescribe bupe, we will be missing a major weapon in the fight against the ravages of addiction,” Levin told the forum, which also included patients and non-government medical experts.”


Source: BostonHerald.com – June 18, 2014


  1. John Mark Blowen says

    It seems to me tha buprenorphine has more problems than not enough doctors certified to prescribe it
    1. The education for certification is inadequate to deal with a health care problem the magnitude
    of opiate addiction – especially since most doctors have no training in addiction before that.
    2. In Suboxone programs addiction treatment is optional under the law.
    3. There’s more money to be made getting people into treatment than keeping them in treatment
    which with the 30/100 pt limit provides an incentive to pronounce people cured and taper
    them out.
    4. Buprenorphine because of it’s inherent agonist/antagonist quality doesn’t have the
    opiate ‘oomph’ to match significant tolerance.
    5. The induction process is often very sloppy.

    The buprenorphine treatment system needs a major overhaul.
    In adolescents just becoming dependent with intensive highly structured addiction treatment I have no doubt it could be very useful.
    But we don’t even diagnose addiction in childhood (though it almost always asserts itself by adloscence) and we, as a society, do not support the ongoing expensive cognitive behavioral therapy needed for patients to develop the skills to manage the addiction tendency that they will presumably have for the rest of their lives.

  2. Patrick says

    John Mark Blowen’s coments were spot on. I would only add how easy it is to sell buprenorphine. Here in the Western NY area I would make and educated guess about 80 percent of patients sell their prescriptions.

  3. says

    I live in Alabama. I have been paying out of my pocket for 5 years at $100 a week for methadone treatment. When the affordable healthcare Act came into law. I said, “MY TROUBLES ARE OVER. BARACK SAYS THEY ARE GOING TO PAY FOR ADDICTION TREATMENT AT 100%”. That is para phrasing it, but you get the idea.

    Well my state, Alabama, is a Republican State, and chose not to expand medicaid. Medicaid in Alabama WILL PAY for methadone clinics and even give you gas money to get there and back.

    I did not qualify for medicaid, so I signed up for Obamacare, under the exchange. There are two companies in Alabama that offer insurance under Obamacare. Well I signed up, and low and behold there is not a METHADONE CLINIC in Alabama that is IN NETWORK with ANY insurance company. Well you might say what I did. Just make it easy for them to sign up as a provider and they sign a few papers, you file the claims yourself and all is HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY.

    NOT SO… The clinics do not want to sign up because of the reimbursement rates. It turns out they are lower that what they make off a cash paying customer.

    Now lets say that a miracle happens and EVERY Methadone clinic in the state of Alabama signed up0 as a preferred provider with 20 different insurances companies. IT ain’t gonna happen, but lets say it did.

    Well as it turns out the two companies on the EXCHANGE,, HUMANA and BLUE CROSS,, up and EXCLUDED methadone TREATMENT UP FRONT. So it doesn’t matter if they sign up or not,, they have excluded it.

    Oh they saw the handwriting on the wall when the OBAMACARE came out, and instead of covering it like the law says,, they just excluded it from coverage. Not sure this is legal,, under the Affordable Healthcare ACT or under Parity laws,, but they have.

    Anyone offer any suggestions??

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