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Special Report: Methadone and Buprenorphine, 2003-2008
This DEA National Forensic Laboratory Information System (NFLIS) Special Report presents findings on methadone and buprenorphine, two synthetic opioid analgesics. Use of narcotic analgesics for pain management and opioid treatment programs continues to increase in the United States, which has contributed to increases in opioid-related overdoses and fatalities. The abuse of pain relievers is now comparable to more prominent illicit drugs such as marijuana. For example, the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reported that the nonmedical use of prescription-type pain relievers by first-time users in the past year was equal to first-time users of marijuana (2.2 million). Use this link to view the report (pdf, 3.7 MB).
National Drug Control Strategy
The National Drug Control Strategy is developed each year by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) with input from Federal, State, and local partners. It provides a collaborative and balanced approach that emphasizes community-based prevention, integration of evidence-based treatment into the healthcare system, innovations in the criminal justice system, and international partnerships to disrupt drug trafficking organizations. Use this link to view the strategy.
Buprenorphine Prescribing Practices and Exposures Reported to a Poison Center - Utah, 2002-2011
For this report, CDC analyzed Utah state data for 2002-2011 on prescriptions for Schedule II-V drugs dispensed in the state and on reported human exposures to buprenorphine (including intentional and unintentional, therapeutic and non-therapeutic exposures). Some of the findings include: the number of prescribers writing prescriptions for buprenorphine increased 67-fold, from 16 in 2002 to 1,088 in 2011, and the number of patients filling buprenorphine prescriptions increased 444-fold, from 22 in 2002 to 9,793 in 2011. During this time, the number of reported annual state exposures to buprenorphine increased approximately 13-fold, from six to 81. Of the 462 exposures recorded in the state database during 2002-2011, 250 (54.1%) were among adults aged =20 years, 179 (38.7%) were among children aged =5 years, and 33 (7.1%) were among persons aged 6-19 years. Nearly all (94%) of the exposures among children aged =5 years were to sublingual tablets rather than to the buprenorphine film product, which was not approved until 2010.
Notes from the Field: Emergency Department Visits and Hospitalizations for Buprenorphine Ingestion by Children - United States, 2010-2011
This CDC report finds unsupervised ingestion of buprenorphine-containing products by children to be a growing concern. During 2010-2011, the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System - Cooperative Adverse Drug Event Surveillance Project identified 68 cases involving buprenorphine product ingestions (out of 226 cases of opioid product ingestions) by children aged <6 years. Buprenorphine products were involved in disproportionate numbers of unsupervised ingestions by children aged <6 years, compared with other prescription drugs. Ingestion of buprenorphine/naloxone caused 9.5% of emergent hospitalizations for drug ingestion by children aged <6 years, a greater proportion than any other single medication, even though in 2009 buprenorphine products amounted to only 2.2% of all retail opioid prescriptions and 0.16% of all retail prescriptions.
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