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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 2:04 pm 
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Story from NPR Minnesota:

http://minnesota.publicradio.org/featur ... =155424108

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A prescription drug called Suboxone helps wean people off of heroin and pain pills, but addicts have a hard time getting prescriptions. So they're turning to the black market.

Unlike pain pills and heroin, Suboxone (generic name: buprenorphine) is very hard to overdose on. Addicts can take it to avoid withdrawal symptoms and manage their cravings for these drugs.

"People who are treated with Suboxone are able to go back to school, they're able to go back to work, they're able to start paying taxes and taking care of their children," says Dr. Miriam Komaromy, who directs a state-funded addiction treatment hospital in New Mexico. "It's making them able to return to being a functioning member of society."

New Mexico has the highest fatal drug overdose rate the US. For years, it's battled against one of the worst heroin epidemics in the country. And while heroin use has pretty much held steady, a recent report from the New Mexico Department of Health shows the sales of opioid pain relievers that are popular recreational drugs increased by 131% between 2001 and 2010.

Some physicians do prescribe Suboxone to treat addicts. But many do not.

"A lot of physicians are very resistant to prescribing Suboxone because they fear it will attract opiate addicts to their practices which brings with it a whole can of worms in terms of managing those clients," says Seth Williams, a nurse practitioner who treats the homeless in Albuquerque.

Scientists have long searched for a prescription to treat addiction. But companies were hesitant to develop one. Charles O'Keeffe is the former president and CEO of Reckitt Benckiser, the company that developed Suboxone. "There's not much money to be made in it," says O'Keeffe. "This is not a disease space that a lot of people want to treat."

The US government stepped in and partnered with Reckitt to bring the drug to market in 2000. Buprenorphine — the main ingredient in Subxone — became the only drug doctors could prescribe to treat heroin and pain pill addiction in their offices. Because it is an opiate, the regulations are strict. Doctors have to complete a special training, and there's a limit to the number of patients they can see — about a quarter of them may treat no more than 100 per year; the rest are limited to 30. But the need for opiate treatment has drastically increased, beyond what Reckitt could have anticipated.

The prescription drug overdose death rate in the US is three times what it was in 1999, and yet the number of new doctors certified to treat these addictions with Suboxone has plateaued. Dr. Komaromy — in New Mexico — says she thinks her state could multiply the number of providers by five and still not be meeting the need.

An Albuquerque man who goes by the name Mystery Man has stepped in to fill the void. He says he illegally sells Suboxone every day.

To get Suboxone, Mystery Man has to find a patient with a Suboxone prescription, and give that person the $50 co-pay to fill it. He gets that money by selling, among other things, crack and guns.

He sells each pill for $5. He uses the profit to pay himself and his bodyguards, and to invest in his next deal. He says he notices a difference in his customers. "People don't overdose no more. They're just mellow," he says. "If you take it you won't be stealing, you won't be robbing, and you won't be prostituting."

Special Agent Keith Brown oversees the Drug Enforcement Administration's operations in New Mexico. He disagrees with Mystery Man. "Mystery Man [is] not a doctor. He doesn't know anything about how the medicine should be used, the dosing of it, any side effects. I think is dangerous for all involved."

The Center for Substance Abuse Research at the University of Maryland, College Park recently warned of an emerging buprenorphine misuse. But a survey of physicians who are certified to prescribe Suboxone underscores Mystery Man's role. The majority believe patients who seek Suboxone on the street are doing so to self-medicate.

Doctors who treat addiction are worried that Suboxone will gain a reputation as a street drug. But for now, the street is the only marketplace keeping up with demand.
Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


While this story is more fairly reported than a lot of the sensationalistic crap printed about Suboxone, it still irks me that every Suboxone story seems to be about illegal use and diversion, and never about the people who have been helped and have gotten their lives back because of this medication.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:38 pm 
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I TOTALLY AGREE!!!!!!!!!!!

Its almost like the tragedy that just happened in colorado, now everybody wants gun control laws passed, when the reality is, last weekend, theres millions of people who didnt shoot ANYONE, but have guns/weapons like the ones used.

Same difference with suboxone. I truely believe, its helping MANY more people than there are abusing it. :wink:

I know I believe I am one of them, that probably wouldnt be alive today, without this medication.

thanks for posting this......................

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:32 pm 
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I'd like to know how "Mystery Man" can sell it for $5!! I couldn't get it for $5 and I was doing it legally and searching for every coupon or deal I could find!! I averaged about $5.35 per- my cost! What's Mystery Man getting it for?? 2 or 3 bucks?


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 6:56 pm 
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I like this Mystery Man. I mean...illegally selling crack and guns is wrong, but the customers are going to get their rock or glock somewhere. Either way, that doesn't mean you should be the one jumping in to fill the demand n supply the stuff. If less people made that rationalization, the drug abuse rate in this country would be down. But I feel like the "War on Drugs" is the real culprit in our skyrocketing abuse rate. Whatever. Another topic for another day.

This guy reminds me of a friend of mine who used to sell perc 30s (nothing else). I passed my connect off to him the first time I tried to get clean. He immediately spent his first few rounds of profits to grab up as much suboxone/subutex as he could get. Then he would literally lecture his customers every few times he saw them, he would encourage them to make the switch to subs, he would deny anything but subs to those he truly cared about (often giving them away free to those close to him if they were in withdrawal), and he would always give em free the first few times when someone was trying to get off opiates. Some saw it as hypocritical and nothing more than an attempt to clear his conscience, but I know the guy well and he is really just a good dude. He needed to make ends meet for his family n kid, and saw an opportunity in moving pills..but he made sure from the gate that he was doing everything else he could to help people. I believe he helped more people than he hurt. If customers weren't going to him for their pills, they would have ultimately been going to someone else for them..someone who might encourage them to graduate to heroin, someone who def wouldn't be offering them subs as a healthier/safer alternative, someone who would greedily want to keep them hooked.

Don't get me wrong, you shouldn't sell drugs. It's wrong. It's feeding off the addiction of others for financial gain. But I gotta say that the way my buddy did it was the best way you could possibly do it. He helped at least 5 people get off opiates and as far as I know, they are still clean today.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 7:08 pm 
"There's not much money to be made in it," says O'Keeffe. "This is not a disease space that a lot of people want to treat."

HAHAHHAHAHA whatta load of horse manure. really? comeon, anyone reading this knows how much they fork out to Reckitt Bencisker on a monthly basis. they're are many many many people (dr.s) that want to treat this. ask they're bank accounts.

company of suboxone knows what they are doing as far as making money. they are a business not a charity. i personally , as a business man, think it was beyond genious they started making the suboxone films. they disolve so so much quicker, they are smaller, they seem more innocent like a listerine breath strip, and they dont remind you of drugs. they are a cute little packet of medicine. i was switched to the film by my dr. and i tripled my dose in a few months. with everything i just said, it makes it more innocent to take more. and its easier to take more because the quickness of disolving, fit more in mouth yadda yadda yada.

not only that, Reckitt Bencisker sp? would do promotions with the film and have dr.s push the film instead of the pills. Suboxone company knew of the stigmas that went along with the PILL, so thats why they want people to take the fun innocent film. they are fuckin smart, no doubt about it. They watn people on this their whole lives. no doubt about it.


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