Assignment: Controversy In Psychopharmacological Intervention

Respond to two of your colleagues’ posts by:

o   Extending your colleague’s Discussion with additional support for the stance 

o   Offering a different psychotropic drug treatment than your colleague and supporting its use with evidence

o   Refuting the use of the selected medication and providing evidence to support your stance from the Learning Resources and other scholarly sources


Colleague 1: Fatima


According to Lichtblau (2011), alcohol and opioids are the drug of choice for those looking to escape their problems. Opioids produce an analgesic effect. Buprenorphine is a drug that is used in opioid addiction treatment.  It is an opioid and is a partial agonist, therefore, its effects are weaker than a full agonist  (Lichtblau, 2011). Buprenorphine decreases cravings for opioids, prevents withdrawal, and is less sedating  (Lichtblau, 2011).  It also has a ceiling effects, which means that it does not produce the euphoria as other opioids and so it has a lower abuse potential (Lichtblau, 2011).


A study which looked at the effectiveness of buprenorphine in management of opioid dependence found it to be highly effective when compared to a placebo (Mattick, 2014). Buprenorphine at high doses is very effective and is also effective as a maintenance drug in flexible doses adjusted to the individual’s need (Mattick, 2014). Common side effects of buprenorphine include constipation, dizziness, drowsiness, headache, nausea, and sedation (, n.d.). According to The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), medication assisted treatment is the most effective treatment for opioid addiction (Steiker, Comstock, Arechiga, Mena, Hutchins-Jackson, & Members of the Maintenance and Recovery Services Relapse Prevention, 2013). Use of buprenorphine for opioid addiction treatment has increased significantly since it was introduced in 2002 (Steiker et. al, 2013). Compared to methadone, “buprenorphine may be given 3 times a week, enabling the users to have a better professional and social rehabilitation and generally, better quality of life” (Šimunović, Martinac, Dragić, Bevanda, & Babić, 2014). Higher doses of buprenorphine are also better tolerated than high doses of methadone, are less addictive, and seldom lead to the development of tolerance (Šimunović, et. al, 2014). Buprenorphine can also be used as a substitute for methadone treatment.


The most common controversy surrounding the the use of medication to treat opioid addiction is that idea that one is simply replacing one drug with another (Steiker et. al, 2013). However, buprenorphine is a treatment that helps people live normal lives and it also does not produce euphoria like an opioid thus it prevents one from getting high. Buprenorphine is used in medication assisted treatment programs (MAT) in combination with psychological services, therefore, there is a holistic approach (Steiker et. al, 2013). It has been proven time and time again that abstinence does not work in addiction, therefore, is necessary. MAT is also an evidence based practice that has shown to be effective in opioid treatment.


Holleran Steiker, L., Comstock, K., Arechiga, S., Mena, J., Hutchins-Jackson, M., Kelly, K., &

Members of the Maintenance and Recovery Services Relapse Prevention, G. (2013). Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT): A Dialogue With a Multidisciplinary Treatment Team and Their Patients. Journal Of Social Work Practice In The Addictions13(3), 314-323. doi:10.1080/1533256X.2013.814488


Lichtblau, L. (2011). Psychopharmacology demystified. Clifton Park, NY: Delmar, Cengage



Mattick, R. P. (2014). Buprenorphine maintenance versus placebo or methadone maintenance for

opioid dependence. Cochrane Database Of Systematic Reviews, (2),


Šimunović, M., Martinac, M., Dragić, M., Bevanda, M., & Babić, D. (2014). Anxiety and

depression in opiate addicts treated with methadone and buprenorphine. Alcoholism: 

Journal On Alcoholism & Related Addictions50(2), 123-137.