Suffolk to Use Suboxone to Fight Heroin Addiction

Long Island has seen a growing number of young addicts, so Suffolk County, NY, officials say they are creating a new public initiative to combat the problem. Suboxone, the anti-opiate addiction drug known generically as buprenorphine, will start to be dispensed at county clinics.

“The Suboxone and ongoing counseling will provide a hope to some for whom it didn’t exist before,” said Thomas MacGilvray, director of Suffolk County’s Community Mental Hygiene Services. He explained that the current funding of 350K will support only 60 patients who will be charged on a sliding scale basis. The program may be expanded if the demand overwhelms the new program.

The rise in heroin abuse and addiction has shocked Long Island officials. Suffolk treatment centers saw a fivefold increase in admissions of heroin-addicted adolescents between 2006 and 2009.

The program differs from other public programs that distribute Suboxone because they will be emphasizing counseling as part of the program. Studies show that the use of replacement therapy in the treatment of opiate addiction is far more effective when counseling and other forms of treatment are also included.