Motivations for Diverted Buprenorphine Use in a Multisite Qualitative Study

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Drawing on a multisite sample of 40 persons who sell, share, or use diverted buprenorphine to manage opioid use disorder, in this study we describe why individuals seek to obtain buprenorphine outside of formal treatment contexts, and between-site variation regarding their motives and means. Findings indicate that both the provision and purchase of diverted buprenorphine support user-defined risk minimization strategies to avoid withdrawal, reduce heroin use, and satiate opioid cravings in periods of lowered tolerance. We also found that a subset of the sample used buprenorphine recreationally, and that it functioned to extend or augment illicit drug use careers. Implications of the findings are discussed in light of federal and state drug control and treatment policies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)550-565
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Drug Issues
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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