A clinic that has recently opened in Cut Bank and distributes the prescription drug, Suboxone, may be of far more concern to some Cut Bank residents than the medical marijuana dispensary that had been discussed over the past several months.

Suboxone is a prescription drug used mainly to wean patients off opiates such as heroin or opiate prescriptions. The problem, according to some is that suboxone itself has addictive qualities and Dr. Jeff Allgaier, who owns the clinic in Cut Bank called "Ideal Options", says people accuse us of "just replacing one drug with another."

Cheree Taylor at the Northern Rockies Medical Center said they stopped distributing the drug at the hospital because there was quite a bit of abuse and "nobody seems to come off it."

Dr. Allgaier, however, says patients do get off the drug and he argues that, while it's not a perfect drug, it is a far better option than the continued addiction to heroin and oxycodone...opiates that he says are the number one cause of accidental deaths in the United States. In contrast, Dr. Allgaier says through their clinics they have treated literally thousands of patients with suboxone and there have been zero deaths.

One Cut Bank Resident, during a meeting on the medical marijuana dispensary. said they believed that suboxone might be the most abused drug in Cut Bank and at the time, Cut Bank Police Chief Mike Schultz told us it was a much bigger concern than medical marijuana.

Dr. Allgaier doesn't say there can't be abuse, but he insists that the clinic in Cut Bank is totally controlled, is approved by the FDA and covered by insurance. White it isn't perfect, he reiterates, "it's the best we have to counter opiate abuse and it beats seeing people dying on the streets." He told us that the clinic came to be in Cut Bank because the patients they have there were going to Great Falls to get the suboxone.

One thing that everyone seems to agree on is that the opiate addictions in Glacier county, and likely elsewhere... and this is coming from doctors, pharmacists, EMTs and law enforcement, is a huge problem and is bigger than most of us would imagine.

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