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SAMHSA’s Award-Winning Newsletter
May/June 2009, Volume 17, Number 3 

photo of two nurses

Visit SAMHSA’s Web site for more information about buprenorphine and a link to the Agency’s nationwide physician locator.

Buprenorphine: New Guide for Nurses

Expanding Role Helps Physicians Serve More Clients

SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) recently released Technical Assistance Publication 30 (TAP 30), Buprenorphine: A Guide for Nurses.

cover of TAP 30 - click to view publication

Created to provide nurses with current information about buprenorphine products,* the guide also serves as a resource to help nurses working with a community’s physician prescribers to improve treatment outcomes for individuals receiving office-based buprenorphine treatment for opioid addiction.

“The guide is intended to enhance addiction management skills and promote a mutually respectful team environment,” said CSAT Director H. Westley Clark, M.D., J.D., M.P.H., in a letter to nursing professionals.

From a nurse’s point of view, the new guide is much needed in the field.

“When it comes to opioid addiction, people shouldn’t be waiting for treatment. That’s the core idea behind what we call the ‘nurse care manager model,’ ” said Colleen LaBelle, R.N., Nurse Manager at Boston Medical Center’s Opioid Treatment Center.

“At CSAT, we developed the publication with the help of nurse experts like Ms. LaBelle and their invaluable field experience,” said LTJG Sara Azimi-Bolourian, M.S.N., one of TAP 30’s writers. “The model came right from a successful opioid treatment center.”

Effective Treatment

According to the guide, providing comprehensive services along with medication is the most effective method of treating opioid addiction. It is important that buprenorphine be administered in conjunction with behavioral therapy and psychosocial support to ensure medication compliance and to help patients stay with the program.

“The ultimate success of buprenorphine will depend on the medication’s integration into a broader continuum of primary care services that includes counseling for patients with substance use disorders,” said Robert Lubran, Director of CSAT’s Division of Pharmacologic Therapies.

In the future, according to the guide, nurses in all settings may be called upon to work with individuals undergoing treatment for opioid addiction with buprenorphine products. With physicians, nurses can help to improve treatment outcomes by providing behavioral counseling.

To order a copy of TAP 30, call SAMHSA’s Health Information Network at 1-877-SAMHSA-7 (1-877-726-4727). Ask for publication number SMA09-4376. Download a copy of the publication from SAMHSA’s Web site.

Learning Objectives

The guide is intended to:

  • Provide nurses with basic information on the pharmacology, safety, adverse effects, interactions, cautions, and abuse potential of buprenorphine products.*
  • Increase nurses’ factual knowledge on protocols for the use of buprenorphine products in medically supervised withdrawal (detoxification) and maintenance treatment services.
  • Help nurses, together with authorized physicians, design strategies for providing comprehensive physical and psychosocial assessments, treatment monitoring, and appropriate referral for opioid addiction, and co-occurring medical and psychiatric conditions.
  • Offer practical guidance for patient screening, assessment, induction, stabilization, and prevention of precipitated withdrawal in medically supervised “detoxification” or maintenance treatment services.

*Note: Buprenorphine products include Suboxone® (buprenorphine and naloxone) and Subutex® (buprenorphine) for the pharmacological treatment of opioid addiction.





President’s Budget

President’s Budget

FY2010 Budget sustains critical programs.


  Treatment Improvement  
   Protocols  
Addressing Suicidal Thoughts & Behaviors

Addressing Suicidal Thoughts & Behaviors

From CSAT, TIP 50 offers guidance to substance abuse counselors on how to help clients who may be in crisis.


  Medication-Assisted Treatment  
Buprenorphine: Guide for Nurses

Buprenorphine: Guide for Nurses

Specific guidance for nurses and nurse care managers.

Methadone Safety

Methadone Safety

Safe use of methadone, a medication for opioid addiction, is the focus of a new campaign.


  Data on Depression  
MDE and Youth

MDE and Youth

In 2007, 2 million adolescents had a major depressive episode.

MDE and Adults

More than 16 million adults struggle with depression.


  Focus on Children  
Mental Health Awareness Day

Mental Health Awareness Day

Eight young people take center stage in a celebration of the arts as a way to cope with mental health problems. Photo Gallery.

Data on Children, Parents, Drugs

More than 8.3 million children lived with a parent who was dependent on or abused alcohol or drugs during the past year.


  Women’s Behavioral Health  
Mental Health Publications

Mental Health Publications

“Action Steps” for professionals and “What It Means To You” for consumers are available to order.

Pregnancy & Substance Abuse

Pregnancy & Substance Abuse

How much are alcohol and drugs used during pregnancy and after childbirth?


  Recovery Month  
20th Anniversary Includes TV Spots, PSAs

20th Anniversary Includes TV Spots, PSAs

With a few months to go, the Recovery Month Web site offers flyers, banners, and more.


  Also in this Issue  
PRISM Awards

PRISM Awards

Celebrating excellence in Hollywood. Photo Gallery.

ADDERALL® & College Students

ADDERALL® & College Students

Full-time college students are twice as likely to use Adderall® nonmedically.

Real Warriors Campaign

Real Warriors Campaign

Helping service members break through stigma to ask for help.



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