The United States has a tremendous problem with opiate addiction. An estimated 2.6 million people in the U.S. suffer from an opiate use disorder, reports the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a figure that has sharply risen over the past decade. In many medical settings, suboxone is used as a treatment for people addicted to heroin or prescription drugs. However, suboxone itself can be habit-forming, making suboxone addiction a significant issue for those with history of opiate abuse. Finding an effective suboxone addiction treatment program is the first step toward better health.
What Is Suboxone?
Suboxone is considered a treatment for opiate addiction. It contains a combination of naloxone and buprenorphine. Naloxone is an opiate antagonist, meaning that it reverses the effects of other opiates. Buprenorphine, on the other hand, is an opioid medication. It is considered a partial opiate agonist, meaning that it binds and activates opioid receptors, which is the same receptors which morphine, heroin, and other opioid painkillers binds to. . However, because suboxone contains opiates, it can become addictive.
Development of Suboxone Addiction
Suboxone has been commonly prescribed as an opiate replacement. Because of its long life, some doctors choose to replace it for other opiates in order to start titrating the patient. However, problems arise because of suboxone’s potency. Withdrawal symptoms from suboxone can be much longer than most patients were originally experiencing with the drug they intended to detox from. For some patients, suboxone has been a helpful part of their recovery, because it provides some stability and offers a single daily dose, but others can and do take Suboxone recreationally
Unfortunately, the wide use of suboxone means that some people who receive the drug end up having negative outcomes. Treatment facilities that prescribe suboxone do not always do a good job of explaining to patients that it is a replacement opiate, it is highly potent, and it may have potentially harmful consequences. As a result, many patients do not even realize that suboxone is another opiate medication! In effect, this causes patients to replace one opiate drug (e.g., heroin or prescription painkillers) with another.
Additionally, many treatment facilities prescribe suboxone during the opiate detox process. As a result, they stop taking the drug and begin suboxone withdrawal symptoms right as they are leaving rehab. The withdrawal effects of suboxone can be longer and more drawn out than other opiates, making it difficult for patients to manage these symptoms on their own. This causes some patients to return to heroin or prescription painkiller use to avoid those unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.
Benefits of Suboxone Treatment
Although suboxone is presented as a safe and effective opiate addiction treatment, it has significant problems in real-world use. Some patients are able to use suboxone effectively to help them recover from opiate addiction. For maintenance treatment, the reported results are very similar to methadone. About 60% of people who are given Suboxone as a maintenance treatment, don’t use illicit drugs while they’re on it. For many patients that wish to be completely free on opiate dependence, suboxone might create more problems than it solves. These patients often wish that they had never started suboxone treatment, given the slow and lengthy withdrawal process from the drug.
At the Waismann Method Medical Group, suboxone addiction represents one of the top forms of drug dependence we see. Patients who began using suboxone to help their withdrawal symptoms from other opiates, soon find themselves needing professional assistance with suboxone detoxification. Finding an effective opiate addiction treatment is the first step toward a safer, healthier recovery.
The Waismann Method Center offers rapid opiate detox and modified medical detox protocols for suboxone treatment. Each patient is admitted to a private room of an accredited, full service hospital for treatment. Most importantly, all patients receive a thorough medical assessment that is used to create an individualized treatment plan. This ensures that the treatment approach is appropriate to a person’s unique physical and psychological needs.
Following the suboxone detox process, patients move to our inclusive Domus Retreat for post-detox care. Here, clients continue to receive personalized services to help them maintain sobriety as they transition back to everyday life. This provides a safe, supportive environment for individuals suffering from suboxone addiction.
America’s Addiction to Opioids: Heroin and Prescription Drug Abuse. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Retrieved September 16, 2015.