AT OREGON’S TOP MEDICAL RESEARCH INSTITUTION, SUBOXONE IS THE NEW OXYCONTIN
Medical professionals at Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) are making it easier for vulnerable Oregonians trapped in a medical opioid crisis to get failed, addictive “medications” associated with increased risk of harm and death
by Clark Miller
Published June 25, 2021
Not so long ago, the heavily marketed and prescribed opioid Oxycontin and similar addictive opioids provided to patients by licensed medical professionals for pain of all types – against all longstanding evidence – generated an increasingly lethal opioid epidemic facilitated by a coordinated consensus and collaborative promotion involving doctors, medical journals, mass media, medical institutions, and governmental and professional oversight entities – entities charged with protecting public health.
There is no less effective a collaboration to market and supply to the victims of that iatrogenic (medically generated) lethal epidemic more opioids, and with the same known properties and outcomes – diversion, abuse, and roles as commodity and currency in the illicit economies of abused substances ravaging American communities.
Bradley is a great team player. He’s saying just exactly the things he needs to say, is expected to say. He’s been medically trained well. He didn’t deviate to elaborate on some of the most unique qualities of “bupe”, or buprenorphine, most commonly prescribed as Suboxone. Not many medicines are so privileged among prescribers that they continue to be supplied to users after it’s been clear for years, decades actually, that they’re being abused regularly and increasingly, and that they function on the street as consumable and currency in street economies of illicit, lethal drug use. Not many medicines have the distinction of being associated with rapidly increasing death rates, and rapidly increasing rates of serious illness, in fact with lethal epidemics, the more they are provided.
“Unlike methadone treatment, which must be performed in a highly structured clinic, buprenorphine is the first medication to treat opioid dependency that is permitted to be prescribed or dispensed in physician offices, significantly increasing treatment access,” the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration stated on its website.
Buprenorphine treats “opioid dependency” ? Praise the Lord. I want to go to church and give thanks right now. The opioid crisis is nigh over, then. Anyone wanting to choose life and wellness, and freedom from dependency, and all the horrible problems that go along with it – loss of health, of family, of home – anyone wanting to be free of that and get well only needs to go in to see Bradley for a prescription, or just about anywhere these days, to “get clean”, to be free of opioid dependency, to get out of the lethal trap they’re in. Wait! They don’t even need to go in to see a doctor like Bradley at OHSU. They can get started on bupe now by phone or over a video screen! Thank God for American Medicine. Even better, they can buy it on the street to get clean and have a new life, like so many Americans are doing these days.
Yay. America’s public health institutions found the cure, and are showing that opioid crisis who’s boss!
“We know medications, especially for opioid use disorder, reduce overdose risk by 50 percent and reduce return to use. But there are often barriers in the medical system,” Dr. Buchheit said.
Huh. That sounds a lot like the claims we’ve heard from trusted medical professionals for decades. And Bradley must be excused for a slight exaggeration. It’s okay. It happens sometimes, like when opioids for all kinds of pain were promised to be safe and effective. It turns out that not only is there no credible evidence for any reduction of overdose risk, but instead consistent evidence establishing that there is no benefit, instead harm associated with the runaway dispensing of an addictive, abused, and diverted opioid. And the doctor is being a bit disingenuous here, because “barriers in the medical system” are not a factor when the prescribed medication is one of the most widely diverted and available opioids on the street – good news, you can get it anywhere!
Research has proven that medication-assisted treatment is an evidence-based strategy for treating individuals with an opioid use disorder, OHSU explained in its curated opioid resource library available online.
The HRBR clinic at OHSU is designed as an urgent response to an opioid crisis that is killing an average of five Oregonians every week from overdoses, according to the Oregon Health Authority.
That’s tragic. Especially when there is a widely available cure in the form of a pill or sublingual strip. Just take it every day and you don’t have to lose everything important to you, including your life. I guess users just haven’t gotten the word yet. Because who would choose misery and death when all you have to do is take a pill each day?
“A lot of them, if they’re coming in and they’re in acute opioid withdrawal, they don’t look happy. They look sick, they look desperate, and our goal here is to help them feel a little bit better so they don’t have to inject heroin or fentanyl,” Dr. Buchheit told KATU News. “Once they get their buprenorphine and they’re leaving they look a little bit more hopeful, a little bit less desperate. When we see them later in the week to follow up, they’re looking like a completely different person.”
Right on Bradley. They’re relieved, grateful to you, to have a free, steady supply. Bupe has high value on the street. Partly because it’s easy to get in to prisons, so because of that value it can be traded for heroin or fentanyl. Add a benzo to bupe for a real nice buzz. And you pass your drug screen because your doctor knows how much you need to be prescribed that benzo for anxiety along with the bupe. Wait, there is no drug screen anymore! That’s the miracle of treatment! That’s how it works. Bradley and others like him are being so cooperative with users in hooking them up with the opioids they need – these days there’s no requirement to come in for those inconvenient drug screens that would detect any of the commonly used street drugs bupe is traded for, like heroin or fentanyl, or to check for the bupe-benzo combo that, unfortunately, is increasingly driving lethal overdoses. But we’re lowering barriers, getting lots of opioids out there.
“The clinic provides immediate, life-saving medication to people suffering from addiction while also helping each patient form a long-term plan for continuing their care at a primary or specialty clinic in their community,” HRBR staff explained in a news release.
Truly a miracle. It’s saving lives every day, just as Bradley has explained. In a very short time, this opioid crisis is going to be a distant memory. That’s why death rates and illnesses related to high-risk opioid use have been going down! Okay, maybe not quite yet. But very soon they will. After all the fentanyl runs out, and the Sackers are publicly hanged. Our trusted medical professionals are so confident of their cures, and that they are turning the tide on this opioid crisis, that they’re prescribing opioids again like crazy!
Staff explained that OHSU is collaborating with the Oregon Health Authority to provide two-years-worth of funding for this clinic, which provided a grant through the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to initiate the clinic. The clinic employs a full-time care transitions coordinator and a peer-recovery mentor in Amy Stocker, along with a part-time nurse practitioner and medical director in Dr. Buchheit.
How can things not get better? With medical professionals involved in treating compulsive substance use? And a peer-recovery mentor? So long, opioid crisis ! What could possibly go wrong?
We live in truly remarkable times. Portentous times.