Friday, January 05, 2007


The Spokesman-Review (Washington) reported Jan 3 that there's not one physician in Spokane willing to prescribe buprenorphine, and only one within a 100-mile radius. So . . .is anyone re-thinking how to make the much-heralded promise of this medication reality for more than the tiny handful of patients who get it? For sure, one can imagine the manufacturer is giving this a lot of thought - but what of those whose responsibility and mission are to provide medical care to those who want and need it, and all too often die without it? The Federal authorities, and state agencies? Medical societies? And is anyone re-thinking the policies and practices that limit methadone maintenance to no more than about 20% of the estimated heroin-dependent Americans (in addition to the substantial number of Americans dependent on prescription pain-killers)?

Timothy Lepak wrote as a incidental side note

I’ve been in touch with the reporter in Spokane to mention that after some research I found that there are actually 11 certified physicians within the 100 mile radius, with only 5 on the SAMHSA list.

But the opposite is true in other parts of the country. "Almost daily I have physicians calling me with treatment openings and no patients." In areas such as Boston, we have patients contacting us who are unable to find treatment despite numerous certified and participating physicians. Since the launch of the matching system on Sept 1st., 1,239 (60%) have been successfully matched to a physician, As of today there are 322 patients on the list looking for treatment.

We (NAABT) have patients that have registered to be matched with a physician in the Spokane area, however currently there are no physicians within range participating in our program. One thing we are doing is sending a postcard to the certified doctors, we notify the physicians how many patients are currently seeking treatment near them in hopes it will prompt them to treat the people in need in their community. To date it has prompted 20 physicians to participate in the program. I’m amazed that after 4 years so many are still unaware of the treatment. Almost daily I have physicians calling me with treatment openings and no patients.


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