heroin substitute

Subutex maker stops selling to Sweden

The maker of Subutex, used in heroin treatment, is going to stop selling it in Sweden, due to fears that the medicine is itself being abused as a narcotic.

"The problem has turned out to be bigger than we thought", says Claes Nordenson, at pharmaceutical firm Reckitt Benckiser. He adds that what was once just rumour has become concrete, and that even the fear that some young people are starting their addictions with Subutex means that his company does not want to supply this product.

Reckitt Benckiser sells 60 percent of Sweden's Subutex, plus other similar pharmaceuticals.

In early November a reporter from Swedish Television secretly filmed Subutex being sold on the street, just outside the clinic where heroin addicts are prescribed the medicine.

But the Swedish Drug Users' Union is not happy with the company's decision. They say that no other medicine works as well as Subutex. The union also says that there is no particular risk for abuse of Subutex.

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