Suboxone case could be first in the nation

Suboxone
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The DEA tells 13 Investigates an Indiana investigation could be the first case of its kind nationwide involving Suboxone.

The drug has gotten the attention of Indiana law enforcement well before now.

A YouTube video describes what more jails and prisons across the nation are facing. Inmates wanting Suboxone, some of them going through withdrawal.

"When I went to jail, like the first week I was good. They were asking me, like, 'Do I want to be on a detox protocol?' I'm, like, 'No, I actually feel alright'," said a 25-year-old recovering heroin addict in the video. "After about seven days, I started getting sick as hell."

Investigators say growing addiction and use is prompting new demand for Suboxone behind bars.

"According to the Department of Correction in Indiana, the biggest two things smuggled into the jail for people are tobacco and Suboxone," said DEA Special Agent Dennis Wichern.

Both Marion County and Madison County jail commanders report incidents of individuals trying to smuggle in Suboxone. Staff in Madison County are removing stamps and stickers and, in some cases, copying letters and keep the trafficking of the drug out of their facility.

The DEA calls Suboxone a "synthetic heroin substitute."

It's been high on the radar since May, as the agency stepped up its efforts to crack down on all synthetic drugs. Those earlier raids netted distributors of illegal synthetic marijuana and LSD.

Now, doctors are under intense scrutiny for the alleged cash and carry of a legal heroin synthetic.

It's possibly the first criminal case of its kind nationwide.