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Therapy without a prescription: buprenorphine/naloxone diversion and the therapeutic assemblage in Taiwan

Chen, Jia-shin

Año: 2020

Buprenorphine/naloxone (B/N) therapy is a prescription pharmacotherapy for opioid dependence. For certain health service providers, when B/N escapes supervision and diverts into the hands of people for whom it is unintended, it can pose serious risks even if it may still have therapeutic benefits. The line between therapy and diversion is thus a problematic one. By qualitatively analysing archival review and in-depth interviews, this study uses the concept of a therapeutic assemblage to understand the relationships among government, knowledge, and professionals that surround the regulation of B/N in Taiwan. The therapeutic assemblage is characterised by the partitioning of administration, the loose regulation of prescription, the exclusion of addiction treatment from National Health Insurance (NHI), and the materiality and technicality of therapies. These elements contribute to the therapeutic assemblage´s different territorial modes as reflected in the substance schedules that allow for diversion. This is the first grounded work in Asia that empirically examines and theoretically explains the diversion of B/N from an assemblage perspective. It suggests establishing new associations by incorporating addiction treatment into NHI. Lastly, it addresses the analytic purchase of the assemblage approach in unveiling and problematising unintended outcomes of an intervention.

Tipo documento:





596 - 609



Palabras clave:

diversion; buprenorphine; therapeutic assemblage; unintended outcome; Taiwan


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