Jul 16, 2015 6:42 PM
LACONIA - A family doctor that's been in practice for more than 30 years is struggling to keep up with the demand for narcotic and heroin addicts seeking treatment.
Dr. Brad Libenson, known on a first name basis to his patients, is certified through the Drug Enforcement Agency to prescribe addicts with Suboxone.
Per FDA and state requirements, practitioners can treat a maximum of 100 patients at a time.
Libenson said his waiting list has about 200 people on it, meaning he can't treat them for a year.
As the list grows, he knows addicts are likely to end up behind bars - or die of an overdose.
"We have to tell them we would love to treat you but we can't do that right now," Libenson said.
While Libenson said he estimates his patients success rate at about 50%, Suboxone is under tight federal restrictions because it is a self-administered monthly prescription and there's concerns about it getting out on the streets.
It is also more expensive than the alternative, Methadone, which must be administered at a clinic.
Ten years ago, Libenson said his practice mostly treated prescription drug abusers, but now about half of his patients are addicted to heroin.
Amid the state's heroin crisis Libenson said he doesn't expect his waiting list to get any shorter.
"The demand is so tremendous and the supply of providers is really so minimal," Libenson said, "That it would be unfair to my patients now and in the future for me to stop doing what I'm doing."
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