Suboxone Used to Manage Opioid Abuse and Withdrawal
In the battle against opioid abuse, you’ll often find Suboxone addiction on the front lines. The drug, which is a mixture buprenorphine and naloxone, is used to manage opioid abuse and withdrawal. Essentially, the drug helps facilitate a patient’s detox by limiting the symptoms of withdrawal and thus helping the patient through the early stages of recovery from opioid abuse. After the initial treatment, Suboxone rehab may also be used as a maintenance medication to reduce the risk of relapse.
While Suboxone may be the key to helping patients recover from opioid abuse, the drug is technically an opioid itself. Although it’s designed with certain parameters in mind to try and eliminate the desire to abuse the drug, suboxone addiction may still occur. Continued use of Suboxone can lead to a dependency on the drug, which means the user believes they need to take the drug just to function and feel normal again. Unfortunately, if the drug is found by someone who is not using it as prescribed, it can also act as a gateway to stronger opioids, such as heroin or fentanyl. Thus, Suboxone addiction must be kept on a tight leash. It may have a place in the treatment of opioid addiction, but it must be used cautiously.
How Suboxone Works
Buprenorphine is the main ingredient of Suboxone, and it is a partial opioid agonist. When taken, the buprenorphine moderates the activity of the brain’s opioid receptors. This moderation reduces the effects of opioid withdrawal. Effectively, this allows a patient to undergo a rehabilitation program without experience the severely negative effects of withdrawal.
Naloxone is added to Suboxone to block the opioid from the brain’s receptors, thus preventing the user from getting the euphoric feeling regularly associated with opioids. Essentially, Suboxone is designed to manipulate the patient’s brain receptors enough that they don’t feel the negative effects of withdrawal, but they also don’t feel high – it’s designed to make the patient feel like they’re in a neutral state, even while recovering from opioid abuse. Patients can find Suboxone in either a tablet or in a sublingual film that dissolves beneath the tongue.
Opioid Abuse in Ohio
As mentioned previously, Suboxone is a heavily regulated and restricted substance. It’s estimated that fewer than 16,000 physicians in the United States have been permitted to prescribe the drug.
Currently, the state of Ohio is going through an opioid epidemic. In 2005, 500 Ohioans died from an opioid overdose. Ten years later, that number had increased to 2,700. In 2016, an estimated 86% of overdose deaths were caused by opioids. On average, eight people die every day due to an overdose, with most of those deaths caused by opioids. Unfortunately, the strength of opioids is increasing. Users who started with heroin have moved on to fentanyl, which is substantially more power and equally more difficult to recover from.
When regulated properly and taken as prescribed, Suboxone can help in the fight against opioid addiction. However, like all opioids, it can easily be abused. Someone who hasn’t been prescribed Suboxone may steal drug, or buy it on the street. While it is not as strong as other opioids, it can still lead to suboxone addiction, or in worse cases, act as a gateway to more powerful opioids, such as heroin or fentanyl.
The Risks of Suboxone
Side effects of using Suboxone can include insomnia, difficulty focusing, sweating, dizziness, fainting, and nausea. Overdose signs include a lack of coordination, slurred speech, sudden drowsiness, slowed breathing, and loss of consciousness. Over time, Suboxone abuse can cause liver damage, as well as other health and relationship problems.
Signs of Suboxone Addiction
Unlike heroin or fentanyl, you won’t find much about Suboxone addiction in the media. There aren’t a plethora of TV shows that demonstrate what a Suboxone addiction may look like, and as such, it can be harder to spot. Since Suboxone comes in the form of either a tablet or a sublingual strip, users are unlikely to have track marks on their arms from injections. Instead, you’re more likely to find random packages hidden around the residence. If someone has been prescribed Suboxone, monitor how long it takes to go through the prescription – if the user runs out of medication before their scheduled end date, that may be a sign they’re abusing the drug.
As the addiction strengthens, you’re likely to see more obvious signs of opioid addiction. A loss of interest in hobbies and recreational activities, a failure to go to work, and strained personal relationships can all by symptoms of suboxone addiction. Also look for a yellowing of the skin and eyes, which may indicate liver damage.
Getting Help for Suboxone Addiction
Those addicted to opioids are unlikely to seek help on their own, and will usually need the support of family and friends. Unfortunately, however well-intentioned they may be, it’s unlikely the family and friends have the experience to deal with an opioid addiction.
At the Lumiere Healing Centers, we develop a program to guide a patient to a successful recovery. It begins with a detox, where the patient is tapered off the drug until it is no longer present in their system. Next, our counselors provide therapy and life strategies to help the patient manage future problems so they don’t relapse. Finally, we provide them with referrals to various 12 step programs to ensure the best chances of a full recovery.
If you have any questions, please call Lumiere Healing Centers today at 513-909-2225 for our Suboxone rehab.