Illicit Uses of Buprenorphine (Suboxone, Buprenex, Subutex)

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Illegal uses of Buprenorphine (Suboxone, Buprenex, Subutex) based on DEA Study

Like other opioids commonly abused, buprenorphine is capable of producing significant euphoria. Data from other countries indicate that buprenorphine has been abused by various routes of administration (sublingual, intranasal and injection) and has gained popularity as a heroin substitute and as a primary drug of abuse.

Large percentages of the drug abusing population areas consist of:

  • France
  • Ireland,
  • Scotland
  • India
  • Nepa
  • Bangladesh
  • Pakistan
  • New Zealand

These cities have reported abusing buprenorphine by injection and in combination with a benzodiazepine.

Sources of Buprenorphine Illicit Uses Information

  • The National Forensic Laboratory Information System (NFLIS) is a DEA database that collects scientifically verified data on drug items and cases submitted to and analyzed by state and local forensic laboratories.
  • The System to Retrieve Information from Drug Evidence (STRIDE) provides information on drug seizures reported to and analyzed by DEA laboratories. In 2010, federal, state and local laboratories identified 7,786 exhibits as buprenorphine; five times the number of buprenorphine exhibits (1,291) identified in 2006.
  • Drug Abuse Warning Network (New DAWN ED), an estimated 14,266 emergency room visits were associated with buprenorphine misuse in 2009, more than three times the 4,440 estimated number of buprenorphine visits in 2006.

User Population of Buprenorphine

In countries where buprenorphine has gained popularity as a drug of abuse, it is sought by a wide variety of narcotic abusers: young naϊve individuals, non-addicted opioid abusers, heroin addicts and buprenorphine treatment clients.


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