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Suboxone Doctor Shortage in Dutchess-- County Legislature Should Hold Public Hearing Now!

This petition had 108 supporters

Sign this petition, email, and pass it along to all you know if you agree that at the very least the Dutchess County Legislature should hold a public hearing on the very dangerous shortage of doctors (only six) who prescribe the opiate replacement Suboxone in Dutchess County to help people stay away from heroin and other opioids.

I myself know the value of Suboxone from personal experience (Suboxone literally saved my life; for many years I battled addiction to opiates; I've been clean for a while now, largely thanks to Suboxone).  

Fact: The Poughkeepsie Journal reported Apr. 24, 2017 this: "Dutchess County had the highest drug-related death rate of any New York county in 2010, 2012, and 2013.  Dutchess' per-capita drug-related death rate hit a high of 24.2 per 100,000 people in 2013, but fell to a rate of 16.9 in 2014, yet went back up to 22 deaths per 100,000 people in 2015.  The total deaths per year stayed relatively flat over the six years between 2010 and 2015; it grew from 59 deaths in 2010 to a high of 72 in 2013, then back to 65 deaths in 2015, the report showed."

Fact: "It's far easier for people to get the heroin and prescription painkillers that get them hooked than the medications needed to treat their addictions. Nationally, only about one of five people who would benefit from the medications are getting them, according to a study by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.  Methadone and Suboxone are highly regulated drugs that reduce withdrawal symptoms in people addicted to heroin and painkillers. Even though they contain opioids, the drugs are not intended to make patients high. The state limits the number of methadone clinics and the number of patients each clinic can serve. Doctors who obtain a federal license can treat addicts in their office with Suboxone, but the government caps the number of addicts they can treat. Newly licensed doctors can only treat 30 patients at a time. After a year, doctors can increase that to 100 patients. The government imposed those caps to curb potential abuse. Federal officials are considering easing those restrictions.  People wait up to six months in Onondaga County to get the drug, according to Dr. Laura Martin, an addiction medicine specialist in Salina licensed to prescribe it. Many of the licensed Suboxone doctors here don't prescribe the drug or do so infrequently, she said. As a result, some addicts go to New York City to get it because there are more Suboxone doctors there, she said." [from "In Syracuse It's Easier for Addicts to Get Heroin Than Medical Treatment" by James Mulder Feb. 14, 2016 ]

Fact: "Clinical studies show that U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved opioid addiction medicines like buprenorphine [Suboxone] offer a far greater chance of recovery than treatments that don’t involve medication, including 12-step programs and residential stays.  But as the country’s opioid epidemic kills more and more Americans, some of the hardest-hit communities across the country don’t have enough doctors who are able — or willing — to supply those medications to the growing number of addicts who need them.  More than 900,000 U.S. physicians can write prescriptions for painkillers such as OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin. But because of a federal law, fewer than 32,000 doctors are authorized to prescribe buprenorphine to people who become addicted to those and other opioids. Most doctors with a license to prescribe buprenorphine seldom — if ever — use it. "      [from Pew Charitable Trusts' Christine Vestal-- "Few Doctors Are Willing, Able to Prescribe Powerful Anti-Addiction Drugs" January 15, 2016]

Laila Cohen-Tyner Co-Host, 950 AM's "The Real Majority Project" Saturdays 8 am-noon









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