San Francisco has been estimated to have approximately 11,000 residents that use heroin with needles. The Sanitation Department disposes of more than 12,000 needles every month especially with in the encampments that homeless people take up and, in the areas, where drug users typically hang out. Since most of these people have already lost everything and are mostly panhandling to get the drugs that they need to keep from getting sick, a special medical team in San Francisco has been formed to help those on the streets that may feel as those they have no way out of the addiction in their life.
San Francisco Mayor, Mark Farrell, announced in May that SF would fund $6 million to provide direct treatment to drug users by providing the medical-assisted therapy drug, Suboxone which contains Buprenorphine, directly to the people who battle opioid drug addiction. The city is using their Department of Public Health Street Medicine Team to deliver drugs out on the streets in hopes of assisting them to receive help for their addiction to heroin or prescription painkillers. In order to help them on their path of sobriety, “Buprenorphine Teams” will be sent out to give people who battle opiate addiction the medicine that they need. These teams will also have the accessibility to get Suboxone on the spot at a pharmacy.
Most people that live on the streets are not equipped to keep their appointments to the Methadone clinics and Methadone is not as fast acting as Suboxone which will stop drug cravings right away. Suboxone is consisted of both Buprenorphine and Naloxone which work together to stop cravings and reverse a potential overdose of opiates. Sublingual tablets of Suboxone are administered which create what is called a “ceiling effect” that not only lowers the risk of side effects, but dependency and misuse as well.
The “Buprenorphine Team” began to test the virtue of using Suboxone on the streets of San Francisco in 2016 on 200 persons that wanted to get help for their addiction. Over 60 percent of the subjects that are taking Suboxone are still working on staying clean. With this new movement, many more will be offered an opportunity to stop their addiction. This may be the cutting-edge approach to help more drug infested communities to get well.
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