In the state of Kentucky, the Medicaid program has spent almost $11 million dollars last year for Suboxone. This is despite the fact that Kentucky does not foot the bill for the drug treatment programs necessary for the administration of the drug.
The illegal sale of Suboxone is becoming a disturbing problem in Kentucky.
"Our detectives have been buying it on the street," said Dale Morton, a spokesman for Operation UNITE, a federally funded drug enforcement and education agency that works in 29 counties in southeastern Kentucky.
One prescribed Suboxone pill costs about $7.50 but is sold on the street for about $20 dollars. Kentucky is currently experiencing a multimillion dollar budget shortfall in their Medicaid program. Suboxone costs have risen every year since 2004, the first year that Medicaid covered the cost of the drug.
Today, Suboxone costs almost $11 million on Kentucky’s Medicaid program. This is for about 1,800 patients each month and makes it the state’s seventh most expensive prescription drug.
State Medical Commissioner Elizabeth Johnson believes Suboxone is beneficial to many Kentucky residents struggling with drug addiction.
"Its intended purpose is a good one," said Johnson. "It’s to get people off illegal opiates. We unfortunately have a very serious drug abuse problem in this state."