My Name Is Ben, and Im a Nurse / Addict

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The sooner an addiction is faced head on, the better. Send a letter to the editor , and you just might get published. Dallas Morning News Editorial. We are currently revamping our comment system and it will return soon. Editorial and commentary from op-ed columnists, the editorial board and contributing writers from The Dallas Morning News , delivered three days a week. By signing up you agree to our privacy policy. Stand with us in our mission to discover and uncover the story of North Texas. More from homepage. Reports Journals Books. Search keyword. Items per page 5 10 20 40 Related Material.

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Additional Information First Name. Last Name. Monthly Roundup - the latest news from Center on Addiction The movement to end addiction. Press Releases Center on Addiction news and press releases. Blogs and opinions Blogs and opinions. Prevention tips for parents Prevention tips for parents. New research reports New research reports. Product Releases Product releases. But Dr. It is associated with a large number of deaths. But buprenorphine is not being monitored systematically enough to gauge the full scope of its misuse, some experts say.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not track buprenorphine deaths, most medical examiners do not routinely test for it, and neither do most emergency rooms, prisons, jails and drug courts. The company, now a consumer goods giant called Reckitt Benckiser , hired several federal officials who had shepherded the drug, and it has financially supported many of the scientists and doctors who are studying it and advocating its use.

The Genetics of Drug and Alcohol Addiction

In an 11th-hour bid to thwart generic competition and dominate the market with its patent-protected Suboxone filmstrip, the company sought to convince regulators that the tablet form, which earned it billions of dollars, now presented a deadly risk to children as packaged in pill bottles. The F. Early this year, it approved generic tablets and asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate potentially anticompetitive business practices by the company. Reckitt Benckiser defended its advocacy for the Suboxone filmstrip — now its only pharmaceutical product — saying its research showed that the film was safer than the tablets, kept addicts in treatment longer and had less of a street presence.

It added that it was overseeing an F. John Mendelson of San Francisco, a consultant for the company, said it could be proud of its management of a difficult product. Nearly a half-century ago, buprenorphine was born in the laboratory of an English company specializing in mustard and shoe polish, where chemists were competing to invent a less addictive painkiller. Though far more potent than morphine, buprenorphine appeared in animal tests to be unusually safe even in very high doses. In , Dr. Lewis and colleagues traveled to an infirmary in Glasgow to conduct the first human tests — on themselves.

Buprenorphine made Dr. Lewis violently ill. In the mids, Dr. With opposition to human research mounting, buprenorphine would be the last drug tested there; government scientists justified the research by arguing that the painkiller also had the potential to treat addiction. So they were eager to find an alternative. While addiction is considered a chronic, relapsing disease, experts believe that replacing illegal drugs with legal ones, needles with pills or liquids and more dangerous opioids with safer ones reduces the harm to addicts and to society.

It is slower acting and longer lasting, attenuating the rush of sensation and eliminating the plummets afterward. Addicts develop a tolerance to its euphoric effects and describe themselves as normalized by it, their cravings satisfied. It also diminishes the effects of other opioids but, studies have shown, does not entirely block them, even at the highest recommended doses. Campbell said. He did not have to. The federal drug abuse institute financed the two big clinical trials necessary to win F. Further, the F.

First, Mr. The original advocates of buprenorphine, though, wanted to make addiction treatment mainstream rather than segregate addicts in clinics that became lightning rods for community opposition.

My Name Is Ben, and I'm a Nurse / Addict by Benjamin D. Cox

They wanted doctors in offices to prescribe it, just like any other take-home medication. So Mr. Biden Jr. In the end, because of law enforcement concerns, the Drug Addiction Treatment Act of included unique prescribing restrictions: that doctors seek federal permission, get eight hours of training, accept a patient limit and attest to their ability to make counseling referrals. If addicts crushed and injected the tablets, the naloxone would precipitate excruciating withdrawal symptoms. Lewis said. Even so, Suboxone — four parts buprenorphine, one part naloxone — was created.

And in late , along with Subutex plain buprenorphine , it was approved by the F. An estimated 2. In , the last year studied, 19, people died of opioid overdoses. In the early days of Suboxone, with Reckitt Benckiser barely marketing its own drug, Dr. Kolodny said. He himself became a prescriber. A psychiatrist accustomed to the slow, subtle effects of antidepressants and mood stabilizers, Dr.

Jeffrey T. Junig of Wisconsin experienced a similar revelation. Freed from the obsession to use, people change. Among them was Shawn Schneider, who had found his way to Dr. Like Mr. Schneider, dozens of addicts interviewed portrayed themselves as exhausted and frightened before they started on Suboxone. Travis Norton, 33, gravitated to heroin in adolescence as a result of a misguided infatuation with artist addicts like William S. Burroughs and Kurt Cobain, he said. For years, he cycled through costly abstinence-based programs, always returning to the needle.

Norton, who is now an addiction counselor in a Minneapolis suburb. Norton switched for a time to methadone when his Suboxone doctor retired.

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Edwin A. Salsitz of Beth Israel Medical Center in New York, who has been treating addiction for decades, said that in the pre-Suboxone universe, he encountered all too many middle-class addicts who refused to set foot in a clinic. Reckitt Benckiser gradually built a stable of doctors paid to advocate use of the treatment, Dr. Salsitz among them. The recruiting was tough. Those outside the addiction field were reluctant to deal with the hassles of certification, potential visits by the D. Within the field, buprenorphine faced stiff opposition from the methadone industry as well as traditional rehabilitation programs and the Alcoholics Anonymous movement, which promotes abstinence.

Iverson first requested anonymity, like most other professionals interviewed, some of whom have never acknowledged their problem to their families, primary care physicians or even insurers. Successes like hers multiplied until demand outstripped supply because of the limited number of doctors and the patient cap.

This brought some unintended consequences.