Another Suboxone Argument

It has been awhile since I posted a give and take with a misguided reader. I’ve taken that interval as good news that education is winning over misinformation.

But then I read this comment.  I didn’t fix her typos, as I think they provide insight into her opinion:

Must-Read Article About Buprenorphine

For about 600 reasons I generally avoid the Huffington Post.  But one of their writers did an absolutely perfect job of describing the need for buprenorphine, and the failure of ‘traditional’ treatments.  The article is entitled Dying to be Free.

The challenge, though, is getting the article into the hands of policy-makers.  It is too late for some areas, where the damage has already been done (I find myself humming the old Pretenders tune about Ohio).  When it comes to buprenorphine, too many DA’s, judges, and politicians seem to develop opinions from inaccurate data, and then cling to those opinions no matter what they learn after the fact.  To put it another way… the idiots will always be idiots.  So if anyone reading this post has a relationship with an open-minded politician, now is the time to share the Huff Po story.

Newborn Buprenorphine Abstinence: Get Real!

First Posted 2/6/2014

A few weeks ago I wrote about the differing standards of care for women who deliver babies while treated with buprenorphine for opioid dependence.  Some hospitals require newborns exposed to buprenorphine to stay in the neonatal ICU for arbitrary length of time.  Intravenous infusions of opioid agonists are given to infants whose first yawns or cries are interpreted as neonatal abstinence syndrome.  Other hospitals allow women on buprenorphine to take babies home at the regular schedule, allowing a natural taper from buprenorphine by breast-feeding.

Regardless of hospital policy, many women on buprenorphine enter into the delivery process with a sense of dread, knowing they are harshly judged by doctors and nurses.  Doctors warn women that their babies will suffer from withdrawal if they don’t taper off their medication before delivery.  And members of the media decry the selfishness of women treated for addiction who become pregnant, suggesting the more responsible expectant mothers would use ‘will power’ to avoid all substances.

Even while experts recommend that women treated for addiction stay on medication treatment regimens during pregnancy, society looks negatively on women who do the right thing.   A new mom on SuboxForum recently wrote about how horrible she felt, for putting her baby through such a difficult time.  But should women compliant with recommended treatment for opioid dependence feel so guilty?