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Home > Buprenorphine abuse among opiate addicts.

O'Connor, JJ and Moloney, Eamonn and Travers, Raymond and Campbell, Aisling (1988) Buprenorphine abuse among opiate addicts. British Journal of Addiction , 83 , (9) , pp. 1085-1087.

The search for an effective analgesic without dependence-producing properties has continued for years. Buprenorphine, introduced in Ireland in 1980, has been described as a potent analgesic with low abuse potential, however sporadic reports in the literature seem to contradict this view. This article is an attempt to establish the extent of Buprenorphine abuse among opiate addicts in Ireland. A retrospective survey was carried out of all opiate addicts first presenting at the National Drug Advisory & Treatment Centre between September 1st 1986 and August 31st 1987. The study relied on self-reporting by addicts of drugs abused. Buprenorphine is a major drug of abuse among Dublin's opiate addicts and its use is increasingly common. In Dublin, Buprenorphine tablets are sold on the illicit drug market for £3-£5 each. They may be crushed, taken sublingually, snorted or more frequently dissolved and injected intravenously. Buprenorphine is rarely the preferred drug, and its use is primarily in preventing the withdrawal symptoms of heroin. Buprenorphine was available without a prescription until July 1987. The findings of the study have major implications for the prescribing of Buprenorphine. It has since become a prescription-only medicine and it is clear that contrary to initials beliefs, this drug has high abuse potential. It is remarkable that more widespread abuse of Buprenorphine has not been reported in other countries.

 

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