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Treating Opioid Addiction With Opiates - A Paradox?
A November 16, 2013, op-ed in The New York Times highlighted the abuse potential of buprenorphine, an opioid regularly used in addiction medicine for the treatment of opioid dependence. The article details the authors’ investigation into the seeming paradox of using opioids as a treatment for opioid addiction (Addiction Therapy With A Dark Side).
As with other opioids such as heroin and codeine, buprenorphine attaches to the brain’s opioid receptors; however, buprenorphine attaches incompletely. This incomplete attachment makes the drug short acting, long- lasting, and less euphoric than other opioids. Addicts administered buprenorphine quickly develop a tolerance to its euphoric effects and report overall reduced cravings for it as well as other opioids.
The article examines the concerted efforts made by scientists, lobbyists and government officials to market buprenorphine as a less stigmatizing alternative to methadone from the 1970s to the 2000s. In 2002, Suboxone®, buprenorphine combined with naloxone, was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Naloxone, an abuse deterrent incorporated into the formulation of Suboxone®, has shown marginal efficacy at reducing abuse according to the authors. The authors of the NYT article describe how Suboxone® use has birthed an entire drug subculture, replete with all too familiar accounts of death, despair, and withdrawal.
As the Affordable Care Act (AHA), which expands insurance coverage to include addiction treatment, becomes fully implemented, the controversy surrounding the efficacy of Suboxone® is expected to increase. Though the drug has potential for abuse, its effects on patient wellness can be profound.
The article quotes Melissa Iverson, a former opioid addict who describes the positive effects buprenorphine treatment has had on her: “[before Suboxone® treatment] my life was crazy and out of control. As an addict, I was high all the time. With Suboxone®, I developed a tolerance within a week. There’s zero euphoria.”
Cerilliant offers an extensive list of Certified Reference Materials for opiates and other drugs used in pain management in addition to their metabolites, impurities, degradants, and stable-labeled internal standards. These drugs of abuse reference standards are suitable for a variety of uses from forensic drug testing, clinical toxicology analysis, and calibrator preparation to urine drug testing, pharmaceutical research, and isotope dilution methods.
Opiates are classified as controlled substances. For standards of controlled substances, our USDEA exemptions and TK#s allow laboratories in the US and Canada to order these standards without DEA paperwork. Click on the link below to view our complete listing of opiate Certified Spiking Solutions®:

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