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Suboxone Addiction

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While it seems opioid abuse reaches new heights each year, we have recently seen a reduction in total overdose deaths related to prescription opioids. Unfortunately, the crisis continues when we touch on synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Still, the statistics paint a grim picture that 130 people die every day as a result of an opioid overdose. We are still facing the backlash of a severe crisis, though hope is on the horizon.

In 2017 alone, more than 47,000 million Americans died at the hands of opioids, while another 1.7 million people admitted to a substance use disorder involving opioids. As we see more restrictions being placed on prescriptions, heroin and fentanyl become cheap and reliable alternatives.

Those addicted to painkillers have been forced to use other drugs. In the past, access to healthcare services such as addiction treatment was less attainable. Fortunately, today, getting into treatment is a much easier option. In addition, addiction treatment is much more advanced, offering medication-assisted treatment (MAT) options that help a former user stay clean.

Suboxone is a medication that helps those with an opioid use disorder remove themselves from actively using drugs. For some, it is the difference between life and death. In 2012, the sales from Suboxone reached $1.55 billion in the United States alone, which surpassed the popular drugs Viagra and Adderall.

The success of Suboxone can be traced back to current regulations and federal officials involved with the opioid crisis. While many were apprehensive about the approach in years past, the explosion of deaths has pushed officials to seek new treatment methods. Suboxone, which is a substitute to methadone, is a much more effective drug with fewer side effects. It can be a game-changer for those wanting to end a dependence on opioids.

Unfortunately, Suboxone addiction does it exist, and you must be aware of the signs and symptoms.

WHAT IS SUBOXONE?

Suboxone’s sole intention is to treat those struggling with opioid addiction. It works to block withdrawal symptoms and provide a significant reduction in drug cravings. Suboxone users may ingest the drug as a sublingual strip or a tablet that can be placed under the tongue. When the medication is used in this way, it allows for a quicker onset for a reduction in cravings.

Suboxone was created by combining two medications, naloxone, and buprenorphine, to exploit the best properties of the two drugs. Suboxone, which is a partial opioid agonist, means that buprenorphine will induce milder effects when working on opioid receptors.

Opioids that are the most addictive are known as full-agonists, which include oxycodone, heroin, methadone, and hydromorphone.

Buprenorphine has the potential to help significantly in the opioid crisis, and The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released a report stating that:

  • Buprenorphine can reduce the effects of physical dependence
  • Lower the potential for misuse
  • Improve safety in case of an overdose

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF SUBOXONE ADDICTION?

Suboxone is a proven method to treat opioid addiction, but it is still an opiate drug and should be treated as such. It carries the risks you’d expect from an opioid, which include dependency and addiction. Although it is designed to stop cravings, those using it can develop a physical dependence leading to abuse.

Ironically, those who do not have an opioid use disorder are more likely to abuse Suboxone. The most common reason is the euphoria, pain relief, and feelings of calm it produces. Those with an opioid use disorder use Suboxone strictly to treat their cravings.

If someone you know is abusing the substance, signs may become apparent, which include:

  • Chewing the substance and swallowing it
  • Taking larger doses than prescribed
  • Mixing crushed tablets with water to inject
  • Crushing tablets into powder to snort

Other signs of physical Suboxone abuse can include:

  • Insomnia
  • Slurred speech
  • Watery eyes
  • Memory impairment issues
  • Sweating
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea

One of the most common signs of drug abuse, in general, is tolerance. It can lead to physical or psychological changes that emerge after abrupt cessation.

HOW TO TREAT SUBOXONE ADDICTION?

The decision to enter treatment is never easy, but it can be the best decision someone makes to end their dependence on a drug. Addiction treatment must be tailored to the person’s immediate needs to be successful. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach. Treatment should be adjusted moving forward to keep up with the client’s most current needs.

Medical detox is the first and most intensive step in the continuum of care. The client will remain in this portion of treatment anywhere from three to seven days. The specialists will work toward removing all foreign substances from the client’s system. There will be a tapering schedule implemented to reduce discomfort and risk.

Once the client is deemed safe, they will move to the next level of care. Depending on various factors, which includes the severity of their addiction, it can mean residential treatment, intensive outpatient services, or outpatient treatment. The team of physicians will determine your next steps after a thorough assessment. For some, they may fare better in a residential environment, and others can be successful while working or going to school. The clients will be screened on a case-by-case basis.

Sources

Lynne.walsh. (2015, June 15). Buprenorphine. from https://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment/treatment/buprenorphine

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019, January 22). Opioid Overdose Crisis. from https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/opioid-overdose-crisis

Sontag, D. (2013, November 16). Addiction Treatment With a Dark Side. from https://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/17/health/in-demand-in-clinics-and-on-the-street-bupe-can-be-savior-or-menace.html?_r=0

Alltucker, K. (2019, July 23). Prescription opioid overdoses drop, as fentanyl deaths skyrocket. from https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2019/07/19/fentanyl-cocaine-meth-overdoses-opioid-prescription-epidemic/1769490001/

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