Suboxone is traditionally used to treat patients coming down off heroin and other opiate addictions. Because the withdrawal symptoms are so strong, those wishing to detox often need chemical help. The withdrawals coming off Suboxone are much less intense and can help ease the transition from illicit opiates to a more controlled alternative.
Usually only health professionals working in drug treatment facilitates have access to the drug. Somehow the drug has found its way into the hands of the public who are smuggling it into their relatives and friends in prison. Two incidents of misuse have recently been reported – one in Pennsylvania and the other in New Jersey.
In the Pennsylvania incident referred to as “Operation Postage Stamp,” authorities gained information about an illegal plot to smuggle Suboxone into the prison via intercepted calls to prison inmates. In addition to pill format, Suboxone comes in the form of a thin strip similar to breath strips that can be purchased at the grocery store. Interestingly enough, Reckitt Benckiser, the manufacturer of Suboxone, said that this form of the drug is supposed to control misuse as the paper-thin film cannot be crushed or snorted like the pill forms.
The attorney general’s office released a statement that three letters were seized, which had Suboxone hidden underneath the postage stamps. The incident led to the arrest of five inmates who were charged with trying to possess a controlled substance. Six more were arrested for furnishing the drug, and they were charged with attempting to distribute a controlled substance.
What happened in New Jersey was very similar. Inmates coaxed family members and friends to send the drug via coloring books so it could be licked off the pages. Prison officials there were informed by an inmate in February that the drug would be arriving in the form of coloring books and that they would be able to identify it by its orange color. Staff members there say that it is not unusual for inmates to receive coloring pages and drawings on a regular basis – but it was the orange color and the inmate tip that raised red flags.
The scheme in New Jersey has left five individuals – three prisoners and two women who sent the coloring books – facing charges. Authorities say that the tops of the pages read, “To Daddy,” and the use of children in the plot has left many disgusted. Gary Schaffer, Cape May County Sheriff says that he has not seen anything else that compares to it in his 38 year career.
These individuals need to understand that they are not doing themselves or their loved ones any favors by providing these drugs. They are putting their own lives and futures on the line by doing so. Unless they wish to face a future incarcerated themselves, they need to think twice about “helping” their friends and family in this manner.