By now most people know that there is an epidemic of heroin and prescription drug abuse in our country. We are now reading every day of someone in our town or city that overdosed and died the night before. The candidates that are running for President in 2016 are talking about it in their speeches as to how they are going to combat this problem. The problem has now been diagnosed. The solutions are what everyone needs to come together on.
There are different groups of people out there recommending one of the solutions to the problem should be Suboxone maintenance programs. Their intentions are good. The intentions are to help these suffering addicts to stop using these drugs that are tearing their lives apart. As much as we hear how great the drug Suboxone and Vivitrol are we rarely hear about the negatives.
Suboxone can be prescribed in two ways. First, it can be used as a detox medication only. The addict that is trying to come off opiates goes through severe withdrawal symptoms. Most can’t do it on their own. When they try to detox themselves the physical and mental anguish that comes with it usually leads to them giving up and returning to active use. When Suboxone is used in a controlled environment it is very effective. The person goes through a much less painful detox. After a five to seven day period they are given lower doses until they are finished and are now drug free.
The second way Suboxone is being used is in long term “maintenance programs”. People are put on the drug for months and sometimes years. When someone is on Suboxone, the body’s endorphin production does not return to normal. The body continues to create new opioid receptors while their production of endorphins decreases. Endorphins are essential in our chemical makeup because that is the chemical our body produces to experience pleasure and is responsible for letting our brains know when we are in pain.
Another issue with long term Suboxone use is that there are addicts out there abusing Suboxone. Addiction makes an addict go to extreme lengths to “feel good”. Many people today are using Suboxone as an intravenous drug. They crush down the pills, turn them into liquid, and shoot them in their veins. Even Suboxone that is in the film has been melted down and injected now. Heroin addicts that we have spoken with about this issue have reported that getting Suboxone on the street is just as easy as obtaining the heroin it is out there to combat.
The biggest issue most of the time with ongoing Suboxone use is that the addict most times never gets down to the causes and conditions of addiction. They don’t approach or look at why they became addicts in the first place. It is often viewed as a “magic pill” that immediately fixes them. The problem? What happens when they can’t get any more Suboxone? Their insurance runs out? The doctor cuts them off? Most of these people return to active addiction and the terrible cycle starts all over again.
We use Suboxone at Clearbrook. We only use it as a detox medication and our patients are always under medical supervision. We want our patients to be as comfortable as possible during their drug detox portion of treatment. The suffering can end as soon as you walk into the doors of Clearbrook. What we want to see our patients do is to take a look at their lives currently and how they can change to not repeat it. That is why it is imperative that they get through their detoxification period and into the residential treatment portion of their 28 day stay. That is where the real healing begins.