NPR, October 5, 2018
Jake Harper

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[...] Buprenorphine is one of just three federally approved medications to treat opioid addiction. It's an opioid itself, so some people misuse it — they snort or inject the medication to get high. And patients who have prescriptions for buprenorphine sometimes sell or give it away, which is known as diversion. Some policymakers and officials point to diversion as a reason to further increase regulations. Providers already need to be certified to prescribe it, and there's a cap on the number of patients they can give the drug to.

But addiction treatment professionals argue the problem of buprenorphine diversion is often misunderstood. A black market exists in part, they point out, because addiction treatment can be hard to find. President Trump is expected to sign a bill that would increase access to the medication, but it's unclear how quickly that access will grow.

In the meantime, many people suffering from addiction will turn to the black market to try to treat addiction on their own. [...]

addiction health law policy medical safety pharmaceuticals public health regulation