Louis Morano knows what he needs, and he knows where to get it.
Morano, 29, has done seven stints in rehab for opioid addiction in the past 15 years. So, he has come to a mobile medical clinic parked on a corner of Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood, in the geographical heart of the city’s overdose crisis. People call the mobile clinic the “bupe bus.”
Buprenorphine is a drug, also known by its brand name, Suboxone, that curbs cravings and treats the symptoms of withdrawal from opioid addiction. Combined with cognitive behavioral therapy, it is one of the three FDA-approved medicinesconsidered the gold standard for opioid-addiction treatment.
There are a number of reasons some pharmacists say they are hesitant.
Just a few blocks away from the bupe bus in Kensington, for example, Richard Ost owns an independent pharmacy. He says his store was one of the first in the neighborhood to stock buprenorphine. But after a while, Ost started noticing that people were not using the medication as directed — they were selling it instead.