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Make Pennsylvania Worse Again

07/19/2019

Pennsylvania will make a dangerous mistake if the state implements legislation designed to make it even harder for opioid addicts to obtain buprenorphine legally.

According to this memorandum, some misguided legislators believe they will reduce or stop the "using and abusing" of buprenorphine by forcing recipients of the drug to undergo "required counseling" (whether they need it or not) and forcing prescribers to obtain a state license in addition to the already onerous requirements to obtain the necessary federal license to provide this life-saving office based treatment.

I predict that such deluded law will only prop up the black market for buprenorphine and other, more dangerous opioids. It will discourage prescribers from providing this treatment that actually works, unlike counseling. Lawmakers should find ways to make buprenorphine more readily available rather than pursuing prohibition which only adds to the harm. Forced counseling will in most cases end up as a perfunctory exercise tolerated to get the drug.

In my opinion we should make buprenorphine available over the counter like alcohol and tobacco, each of which kills far more people than opioids, if we want to reduce opioid overdose deaths.