What is Suboxone?
Suboxone is a drug that was approved by the FDA in 2002 for the treatment of chronic opioid abuse. The active ingredients in Suboxone are buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid antagonist. It binds with the opioid receptors located in the brain, resulting in a decrease in pain. Buprenorphine is not considered a full opioid, but it does act like one. It causes activity at the opiate receptor sites, but will not produce an intense euphoric state or disorientation. Buprenorphine halts withdrawal symptoms and reduces the craving for opiate-based drugs such as heroin. The other ingredient in Suboxone is naloxone, another opioid antagonist that will fill the opioid receptor and prevent other drugs from activating them. Subutex only contains buprenorphine. While both have been proven to be effective in treating the symptoms of opioid withdrawal, both can be abused to get high. In fact. A recent NY Times article highlighted the story of a woman who became addicted to Suboxone.
Can Opiate Addicts Safely Use Suboxone or Subutex Forever?
No. Suboxone or Subutex should only be used with an exit plan clearly spelled out before the drug is prescribed. The exit plan must be created by both a licensed chemical dependency therapist and a psychiatrist or medical doctor. Due to its high potential for abuse and mild euphoric sensations, Suboxone and/or Subutex should be used for a period of 7 to 30 days, never longer. Dr. Steven R. Scanlan, a board-certified psychiatrist by the American Academy of Psychiatry and Neurology and board-certified in addiction medicine by the American Board of Addiction Medicine says, “I have found that the optimal time to have someone on Suboxone is between 20 and 25 days, tapering down on the medication every few days.” Dr. Scanlon insists that Suboxone only be used in combination with chemical dependency counseling. He warns that although the drug is great in the short term, there is also cause for alarm since Suboxone is 25- 40 times more potent than morphine. Over an extended period of 45 days to multiple years, Suboxone and Subutex will start to cause the same long term effects found with long-term opiate abuse. Furthering the conclusion supported by this treatment center that Suboxone should never be used for more than 30 days and in almost all cases, much less than that.
What Suboxone and Subutex Do Not Do
These drugs while very good at getting the heroin addict back on their feet, free of withdrawal symptoms, it does not curb or stop the disease of addiction which is the root cause of the uses of the opiates. Without through and continued chemical dependency treatment from a valued and reputable drug rehab, permanent recovery is not possible. Subutex and Suboxone will not help restore broken family relationships or help return a child to their mother. It will not teach the addicted individual the long-term tools needed to reduce craving or provide a peer base all committed to living sober. If you have been on Suboxone or Subutex for a period of time last over 30 days, or have a suboxone addiction, and wish to seek permanent recovery please call us today at 1-844-I-Can-Change.