Doctors reluctant to use heroin addiction medication

Even though it is famous for the “Minnesota Model” of treating addictions through abstinence and support, Minnesota has been slow, some doctors say, to embrace a drug that can help people hooked on heroin.

Dr. James Eelkema appealed this fall to large medical groups such as Allina and HealthEast to certify more doctors to prescribe an oral drug called Suboxone. The drug addresses an addict’s cravings and prevents withdrawal, but generally isn’t addictive and doesn’t need to be given at special clinics.

None took an interest, he said, and one medical director finally told him, “How many times can I say ‘no?!’ ”

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