Bupropion diversion and misuse in the correctional facility

J Correct Health Care. 2013 Jul;19(3):211-7. doi: 10.1177/1078345813486448.


The antidepressant bupropion plays an important role in the treatment of mental health disorders. It is well known that incarcerated individuals are at increased risk of experimenting with psychiatric medications and it is imperative for prescribers and clinicians to understand the misuse potential of these medications, including bupropion. The mechanism of reinforcement of misuse of bupropion is related to the effect on dopamine and norepinephrine neurotransmitter systems. When bupropion is crushed and ingested via nasal insufflation, a faster and higher affinity for neurotransmitters occurs, heightening the misuse potential. A literature search and illustrative case studies are presented demonstrating the misuse potential, along with a review of the clinical implications. This article concludes that in the incarcerated population, bupropion is a medication with significant misuse and diversion potential.

Keywords: bupropion; correctional facility; diversion; nasal insufflation; substance abuse.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation / administration & dosage*
  • Bupropion / administration & dosage*
  • Drug Overdose
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Prisons*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*


  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation
  • Bupropion