Convenient and Discreet? Sales Instead of Recovery?

by The Discovering Alcoholic on November 29, 2007

CBS has an informative series on prescription pill addictions focusing primarily on the young called Generation Rx. I applaud their efforts for raising awareness on this issue that I feel is reaching almost epidemic proportions. However the segment on Suboxone called ”Can a Pill Solve Prescription Drug Abuse?” made a few points on which I would like to critique. Suboxone is a drug that is used to treat opioid (heroin/pain killers) addiction much in the same way methadone is used but in a pill form that is approved for use in non-treatment environments. Take a look at the pharmaceutical website for more info or for a more real world take on the subject visit a recent post by Erin over at What Winners Do (be sure to check out the comments).

I suggest you read the story here before continuing, most of my comments are directed toward the video you can see in the screenshot to the left labeled ”Fighting Addiction with a Pill”.

It is in this video where we see CBS News contributor Dr. Sanjay Gupta talk about prescription drug addicts who see themselves as different from your common street addict. A very true statement indeed, but unfortunately the good doctor has been snookered by one of the oldest addiction tricks in the book because we all saw ourselves different form the rest of the “gutter rats”! I was bipolar, at least she wasn’t a crack addict, and he drinks expensive alcohol, and we all have chemical imbalances… Dr. Gupta, every addict thinks they are somehow unique.

Another statement made in the story I take great issue with is putting a positive spin on the fact that this drug is available in a take home pill form that can be prescribed by any doctor.

Unlike methadone, Suboxone can be prescribed by any doctor, even a family physician, so treatment for addicts can now be convenient and discreet.

Click “Read more” to continue…

In my opinion, the decision to market and distribute this drug through ordinary doctors is being pushed by the pharmaceutical company to increase sales instead of recovery. Giving an addict a bottle of pills to self medicate their addiction is just asking for trouble. Lets face the facts, one (of many) reason many of these people are addicts is because the doctors that loaded them up with pain med scripts didn’t have a clue about addictions… and still don’t! So what makes them any more qualified to deal with the addictions with this new drug?

Now don’t get me wrong, I still favor the use of suboxone as a treatment tool in the proper environment but I am little bit concerned about this “miracle drug” label. Seems to me that was the same thing they were saying about Oxycontin when it was released. I do not want to see the market flooded with a pill that neither patients nor the doctors fully understand. It could hinder the recovery community with a misinformation issue (examples here and here) we will have to spend the next decade trying to explain.

Suboxone and prescription drugs are not the problem in our society, it is instead the belief that doctors can cure whatever ails us by writing a prescription and sending us on our way. There is nothing discrete or convenient about a drug addiction and acting like we can treat it this way is just asking for trouble.

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