Doctor: Suboxone prescribed for those coming off opiate addiction

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) – Christina Brenner’s brother, Faustino “Junior” Carmona, had substance abuse problems for more than a decade. Last year he stayed clean for eight months in rehab.

“He checked out of the rehab on a Thursday and had died the following Monday,” Brenner said.

After getting off heroin, Carmona became addicted to other opiates in the form of prescription pills.

“I think in his mind he thought things were okay because he had a prescription for these drugs,” Brenner said. “I know he wasn’t using them the way he was supposed to be using them.”

One pill Carmona used was suboxone. It is the drug at the center of a DEA raid of doctors’ offices across the state. Authorities arrested a group of doctors, including one Lafayette doctor, clerical workers and one attorney for operating a cash-and-carry operation for Suboxone.

Franciscan Saint Elizabeth Health Pharmacist Katherine Pickerill said the drug is prescribed to those coming off an opiate addiction.

“We use it to treat the withdraw symptoms and help maintain their cravings or prevent their cravings by keeping them on this medication for usually long term,” Pickerill said.

He said part of Suboxone’s chemistry includes Nalaxone, a drug used to help reverse the side effects of a drug overdose. She said this helps prevent addiction to the drug.

However, Brenner said her brother still used it and other drugs to find a high similar to heroin.

“They’re still searching for the high of heroin, so they’re taking more than they are supposed to be taking searching for that high and it’s killing them,” Brenner said.

For the second year in a row, Brenner is planning a benefit in honor of Carmona. Last year she raised money to sponsor someone in rehab. This year she is raising money for youth organizations to help keep kids off drugs.

The benefit will include a softball tournament. It will be Aug. 8-9 at the baseball field on S. Ferry Street in Attica.

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