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Polygence Scholar2023
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Lauren Wong

Class of 2023Palo Alto, CA



  • "Buprenorphine: The merits and ethics of opioid addiction treatments" with mentor Dante (Aug. 2, 2023)

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Buprenorphine: The merits and ethics of opioid addiction treatments

Started June 2, 2023

Abstract or project description

Addictive drugs are substances that elicit abnormal functioning of the brain creating a sense of euphoria, but foster dependent behavior. Opioids have shown intense analgesic properties making them useful as painkillers, however, the notably high addictive nature of opioids created concerns surrounding their usefulness as a medical treatment. 

There are several opioids used as treatments, but with my research, I’ll review the efficacy and ethics of using an opioid called buprenorphine to treat opioid addictions.  Although evidence from clinical studies validates buprenorphine's low addictive potential, pharmacists across the US are still concerned with the risks of substance abuse.

In this review, buprenorphine has proven to be effective for treating opioid addictions as it comes close to the effectiveness of other treatments like methadone. But, considering the immediate withdrawal symptoms of buprenorphine, the substance has prominent flaws that could steer many professionals away from using it. 

Taking into account factors of accessibility, buprenorphine is limited for all age groups, especially for young people. So although it isn’t the best treatment option, buprenorphine remains in high demand in today’s society because there are a lack of alternatives. This highlights a need for improvement with buprenorphine’s availability and the development of other treatments.