Minimizing the Risks of Buprenorphine Diversion and Misuse from Office Based Treatment


 June 14, 2011

Minimizing the Risks of Buprenorphine Diversion and Misuse from Office-based Treatment

Michelle Lofwall, M.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry,
Center on Drug and Alcohol Research,
University of Kentucky College of Medicine

The increase in numbers of patients receiving and doctors providing office-based opioid addiction treatment (OBOT) with buprenorphine pharmacotherapy is a public health benefit as opioid addiction treatment not only decreases illicit opioid drug use, but also decreases crime, spread of infectious diseases, and overall mortality.  However, with the expansion of OBOT, there have been increasing concerns about medication diversion and misuse.

This presentation will provide an overview of diversion and misuse of buprenorphine. It will review definitions, epidemiological data, motivations, and risk factors for these adverse events.  As well, it will review common and shared beliefs about the importance and perceived difficulty of managing these behaviors.  The talk will discuss practical means by which physicians can minimize the risk of medication misuse and diversion while in treatment in order to maximize positive patient and public health outcomes.

Dr. Lofwall's slide presentation can be accessed here.

Dr. Lofwall's responses to selected questions by attendees can be accessed

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