There is plenty of nonsense on the internet, but nonsense is most-annoying when it comes from ‘experts’. I’m referring to nonsense from American Addiction Centers about Suboxone.
If you go to their heavily-advertised site there is no mention of the scandals involving ‘sober treatment programs’ that filled the Florida news cycle a few years ago. And if you look up ‘buprenorphine’ you’ll find articles with titles like my latest, e.g. Can Suboxone Get You High? The difference is that their articles are filled with misinformation about the medication. You’re welcome to compare their post to mine.
The article cited above includes the statement that buprenorphine led to over 20,000 ER visits, and includes a link to a DEA report about buprenorphine. Maybe the author didn’t read the report that was cited, which stated that there were 20,000 reports from The National Forensic Laboratory Information System. That system collates data from laboratories that measure substances in post-mortem and ante-mortem cases involving illicit drug use. Those 20,000 reports that mentioned buprenorphine were part of 1.3 million drug reports. In other words, buprenorphine or Suboxone made up 1.5% of the drugs tested. Not quite as impressive when a denominator is included. One should also realize that with over 100,000 opioid overdose deaths per year and the long half-life of buprenorphine, it isn’t surprising to find buprenorphine in 20,000 cases.
From the actual link in the American Addiction Centers article:
According to the 2020 Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ National Poison Data System (NPDS): 38th Annual report, U.S. poison centers recorded 4,958 case mentions with buprenorphine, 2,948 single substance exposure cases, and two deaths involving toxic exposure from buprenorphine in 2020.
Three thousand cases of buprenorphine ‘exposure’ aren’t a good thing. But the fact that only two deaths were recorded shows the safety of buprenorphine, counter to American Addiction Center’s spurious ‘20,000 ER visits’ claim.
AAC’s site is filled with spurious claims. One article claims that it is dangerous to take Adderall if you take buprenorphine. They run ads often describing treatment for ‘Suboxone addiction’. One recent article says that pregnant women should not be treated with Suboxone – when in reality the most dangerous thing that a pregnant woman can do is go through opioid detox.
It isn’t just ‘AAC’. Searching ‘suboxone’ leads to a spot #1 ad from Columbus Recovery Center’s article called ‘Signs, Symptoms & Side Effects of Suboxone Abuse’. The article goes on and on about pinpoint pupils and ‘risk of death’, and has an impressive list of citations. But when you actually READ one of the citations, such as a review of illicit use of buprenorphine, you learn that ‘many opioid users, particularly IDUs, were using diverted buprenorphine/naloxone for reasons consistent with its therapeutic purpose, such as alleviating opioid withdrawal symptoms and reducing the use of other opioids. These findings highlight the need to explore the full impact of buprenorphine/naloxone diversion and improve the accessibility of buprenorphine/naloxone through licensed treatment providers.’ Talk about burying the lead!
Laguna Treatment Hospital writes about ‘the dangers of Suboxone. What are so many of these treatment programs afraid of? Buprenorphine has been identified as the most valuable treatment in our nation’s struggle with over 100,000 overdose deaths per year, which is why prescribing restrictions have been almost fully removed over the past few years. A dose of buprenorphine makes overdose almost impossible. Talk about profits over health!
What’s the big deal about misleading advertising? I realize most people will take it with a grain of salt, but the way the internet works these days you end up with an article on WebMD entitled ‘6 treatments for addiction that are proven successful’. The article’s source is, you guessed it, American Addiction Centers. The article is ‘medically reviewed’ by ‘Dr.’ Carol Anderson, LMSW, ACSW, whose degrees suggest that she has a Masters degree in Social Work. Guess which treatment for opioid use disorder is NOT mentioned? They list detox, psychotherapy… but not a word about buprenorphine.
If you’re looking for information, make sure to educate yourself. I’ve hyped my forum, which has over 100,000 posts from people who have taken buprenorphine, and has had almost 10,000 members over the years. If you want to learn about buprenorphine, that’s a good place to start.