Diversion of Buprenorphine/Naloxone Coformulated Tablets in a Region with High Prescribing Prevalence

Summary and Analysis…

A study in two New England states revealed a high proportion of individuals in the study had purchased and used diverted buprenorphine/naloxone. The study focused on an area with a “a high prescribing prevalence.”

Strategies and resources dedicated to protecting against patterns of buprenorphine/naloxone diversion should be part of any community or city planning that involves increased availability of these opioid treatment drugs.

Excerpted from Journal of Addictive Diseases

“The purpose of this article was to characterize practices of buprenorphine/naloxone (B/N) diversion in a region with a high prescribing prevalence. A cross-sectional, open-ended survey was administered to individuals entering opioid addiction treatment programs in two New England states. The authors obtained formative information about the knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, practices, and street economy of B/N diversion. The authors interviewed 51 individuals, 49 of which were aware of B/N medication. Of that number, 100% had diverted B/N to modulate opiate withdrawal symptoms arising from attempted “self-detoxification,” insufficient funds to purchase preferred illicit opioids, or inability to find a preferred source of drugs. Thirty of 49 (61%) participants obtained the illicit drug from an individual holding a legitimate prescription for B/N. A high proportion of individuals in the study locations who sought treatment for opioid addiction self-reported the purchase and use of diverted B/N. The diversion of B/N may be minimized by modifying educational, treatment, monitoring, and dispensing practices.”