What Is Diversion of Supervised Buprenorphine and How Common Is It? Academic Article uri icon


  • This study aimed to identify the practices of community pharmacists regarding the provision of buprenorphine for opioid dependence and explore behaviors pharmacists considered indicative of buprenorphine diversion. A cross-sectional survey of 669 community pharmacists authorized to dispense buprenorphine or methadone was conducted in New South Wales and Victoria, Australia. There was wide variation between pharmacies in the level of supervision provided during supervised buprenorphine dosing and a lack of clarity between pharmacists regarding what behaviors are examples of buprenorphine diversion. Compared to New South Wales, a higher proportion of Victorian pharmacists detected 1 or more episodes of buprenorphine diversion in the past year (65% vs. 28%; p < .001) and in the past month (20% vs. 7%; p < .001). Detection of buprenorphine diversion was associated with the administration of crushed tablets (odds ratio = 2.77), broken tablets (odds ratio = 2.69), and having more buprenorphine clients (odds ratio = 1.24). Future research investigating the prevalence of buprenorphine diversion should include a clear definition of what behaviors constitute diversion.


publication date

  • July 31, 2009