Opioid Maintenance Therapy: Questions and Controversies

July 20, 2014 11:03 PM

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Opioid Maintenance Therapy: Questions and Controversies

Opioid maintenance therapy, or using a legal opiate to reduce a person's urge to take illicit drugs, has long generated controversy. Scientific evidence supports it as a practical, cost-effective strategy that prevents death and illness generated by street drug use and allows people who suffer from addiction to resume "mainstream" lives. But opponents argue that it simply replaces one addiction for another. So what's the real story?

Currently there are two kinds of opioid maintenance drugs, methadone and buprenorphine (often packaged under the brand names, Suboxone or Subutex. In addition to buprenorphine, Suboxone contains an added ingredient, naloxone, which is meant to deter abuse by sending users into withdrawal if they inj...

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