HARRISBURG — Rep. Jim Gregory (R-Blair) and other members of the House Human Services Committee heard from experts Wednesday on how Suboxone is obtained by those in substance abuse recovery and the potential for misuse of the drug.
Suboxone, also known as buprenorphine, is used in medically assisted treatment for those with addiction to opioids.
The committee held a hearing with Judith Grisel, Ph.D., from Bucknell University and Dr. Quinn T. Chipley from University of Louisville to learn about the potential for Suboxone abuse.
Gregory said it is important to understand the issues of Suboxone, particularly related to its delivery and its place in the recovery process for heroin and opioid addicts.
“I asked to be a member of the Human Services Committee for the opportunity to make a difference in this state’s most difficult problem. Blair County media and officials from our law enforcement community say illegal Suboxone on the streets and in our prisons is more prevalent than all drugs except methamphetamine,” Gregory said.
Gregory said he was recently called upon to address a Suboxone shortage at a locally owned pharmacy. After contact was made with hospital offices in Pittsburgh, he learned that the supply had been mislabeled by the pharmaceutical provider.
“This created great anxiety for pharmacists and their customers. The supply showed up at the pharmacy the next day, and the crisis was averted. But now I am pressing to make sure a supply-chain mistake doesn’t happen again and any future ‘shortage’ will be averted,” Gregory said, noting it was an example of how families can enter crisis mode and how addicts could be forced to go to the streets to find illicit Suboxone.
Legislation before the Human Services Committee includes House Bill 1662
, which would require coroners to report Suboxone under the Methadone Death and Incident Review Act if it is a primary or secondary cause of a person’s death. The committee also is reviewing Senate Bill 675 to license providers of Suboxone and ensure addiction counseling to those receiving the drug.
Media: For video footage of Rep. Gregory’s remarks in committee, click this link
Representative Jim Gregory
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Jennifer Fitch