With the current opioid epidemic that the United States is facing, treatment for opioid addiction is more important than ever. One method of opioid addiction treatment involves synthesizing chemical compounds to use as drug replacement options during recovery. Drugs such as Suboxone and Methadone are two examples of synthesized drugs created for the singular purpose of treating opioid addiction. However, these drugs have their dangers as well.
Suboxone is a man-made synthetic drug prescribed to treat opioid addiction. While Suboxone is not an opioid itself, it bonds to the same brain receptors as an opioid and therefore is known as an opioid partial agonist. This reaction causes a decrease in cravings for opioids and therefore is helpful in the treatment of drugs like heroin.
Taking Suboxone during recovery can not only lessen the cravings a person may feel but can also greatly reduce the symptoms often associated with opioid withdrawal. While Suboxone can be considered an addictive drug itself, its effects are widely not seen to be as harmful as other opioids making it a necessary option for many trying to fight opioid addiction.
Suboxone does not create the same euphoria as other opioids and therefore even those addicted are less likely to go to extremes to seek it out compared to someone addicted to heroin or prescription opioids.
When it was first introduced in the United States, Suboxone was only available in tablet form. Now, most Suboxone is prescribed as strips, thin pieces of film that are designed to be placed under the tongue and slowly dissolved.
Other forms of Suboxone include the brands Butrans and Probuphine. Butrans is a patch designed to disperse Suboxone through the skin, almost like a nicotine patch. Probuphine is an implant placed under the skin that disperses Suboxone over the course of six months.
While Suboxone and methadone are similar drugs they also have a few major differences. Both are synthetic opioid agonists used to treat opioid addiction. Methadone can also be used as a serious pain reliever, while Suboxone is only approved to treat opioid addiction.
One of the largest differences between Suboxone and methadone is the distribution method. To be given methadone at the start of your recovery, you must go to a certified opioid treatment program. Methadone clinics will carefully watch each dose be administered to the patient and will not let anyone leave the area with methadone.
This is done to avoid the potential of methadone abuse. Over time it is possible that the people in charge of treatment may decide someone in recovery is stable enough to administer their own doses at home, however, a certified opioid treatment center would still be in charge of distribution.
By contrast, Suboxone can be prescribed by a doctor and does not require someone to attend a certified opioid treatment center. The effects of Suboxone are not considered to be as potent as methadone and therefore abuse is considered less of a risk. Methadone withdrawal is also considered to be much more serious than the symptoms associated with Suboxone withdrawal. While both may cause depression and cravings, symptoms such as tremors and hallucinations may occur when experiencing methadone withdrawal that won’t with Suboxone.
Suboxone can be a life-saving drug when prescribed and used correctly. While some may suggest that users in recovery are simply trading one addiction for another, it cannot be ignored that Suboxone is safer to use than other opioids. When taking Suboxone according to the directions of a medical professional it is significantly less likely a person will overdose or die because of the drug, even if they have developed a dependency on it. Still, much like with any drug, it has the potential to be harmful when abused.
When abused, users often dissolve multiple strips in water and inject the solution into their veins. As with any IV drug, this method greatly increases a person’s risk of contracting bloodborne diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C. Places in the country that report a high-rate of heroin abuse also often report higher rates of Suboxone abuse.
Suboxone abuse can lead to users experiencing severe headaches, dizziness, and confusion. Symptoms of depression and anxiety can be worsened when the drug is regularly abused. Similar to other opioids, Suboxone abuse can lead to respiratory depression. Respiratory depression is a slowed breathing pattern that can lead to a lack of oxygen reaching the brain. This is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention.
While Suboxone treatment is effective in treating opioid addiction, a Suboxone abuse problem should not be ignored. This addiction disorder should be treated like any other. It is important to reach out to medical professionals for help and support as you enter recovery. It is important that quitting the use of Suboxone does not push you back into worse opioid addictions such as heroin or even methadone.
Withdrawal is a concern when quitting any drug and should not be faced alone. Support in a group or individual therapy can be helpful to those struggling with symptoms of withdrawal. If the cravings are severe enough it may be necessary to look into a detox treatment facility.
When entering recovery you should not only be looking to get help with your addiction disorder but also look at the mental health issues that are often at the root cause of the addiction. Dual-diagnosis treatment is a program that works on solving mental illness alongside supporting your recovery in order to better cope with why the addiction developed in the first place.
At Create Recovery Los Angeles we are here to help you through your recovery process. Please call us at (855)-518-0222 to learn more.