Podcast

Episode 391: The Anti-Addiction Pill That's Big Business For Drug Dealers

Heroin (left) and Suboxone (right) are both for sale on the street. i i

Heroin (left) and Suboxone (right) are both for sale on the street. Mara Zepeda/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Mara Zepeda/NPR
Heroin (left) and Suboxone (right) are both for sale on the street.

Heroin (left) and Suboxone (right) are both for sale on the street.

Mara Zepeda/NPR

There's a pill called Suboxone that treats addiction to heroin and pain pills like oxycontin. Doctors and addicts say it's amazing.

"It was the best thing that ever happened," one heroin addict told us. "I was like OH. MY. LORD. This is a miracle pill."

The government spent tens of millions of dollars developing Suboxone. Doctors can prescribe it in their offices. But a lot of people who want it can't get it from a doctor, so they have to buy it on the street.

Today on the show: Why people have to turn to drug dealers to get a pill that fights addiction.

For more, see this paper on the history of Suboxone. Download the Planet Money iPhone App. Music: POP ETC's "Keep It For Your Own" and Snoop Dogg's "Whistle While You Hustle." Find us: Twitter/ Facebook/ Spotify/ Tumblr.

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