Suboxone® is an evidence-based, prescription treatment for opioid addiction and heroin addiction. It is a prescription medication that combines buprenorphine and naloxone and has been shown in numerous studies to ease opiate withdrawal symptoms in patients who are beginning their recovery from addiction. These studies also highlight that the medication is beneficial in helping reduce the likelihood of relapse in some patients. Suboxone is known as a medication-assisted treatment (MAT), which is used in conjunction with cognitive behavioral therapy and other “whole-patient” approaches to treatment.
Suboxone can be an incredibly helpful part of drug rehab, as the United States faces an overwhelming drug overdose crisis.
In 2017 over 70,000 Americans died from a drug overdose according to the Centers for Disease Control. Most of these overdose deaths were fueled by an ongoing opioid epidemic that appears to only be getting worse as time goes on. Opioids were linked to 47,600 of these deaths (67.8% of all drug overdose deaths). With the United States battling this epidemic, the need for effective treatment is at an all time high.
The History of Suboxone and buprenorphine.
The US Food and Drug Administration approved Suboxone® to treat opioid dependence issues in patients in 2002. Because Suboxone is itself an opioid drug, it should only be taken with a prescription from a doctor, under close medical care and supervision at a treatment facility like we provide at More Than Rehab, a Houston, Texas area drug rehab facility.
How does Suboxone work?
Helping to suppress cravings and often painful withdrawal symptoms, Suboxone has the potential to make the process of detox and recovery from opioid addiction much more manageable. Suboxone and buprenorphine have some distinct advantages over other medication assisted treatments like naltrexone or methadone. Suboxone contains both buprenorphine (an opioid partial-antagonist) and naloxone (an opioid antagonist). The buprenorphine will allow the brain to think it is receiving opioids, while the naloxone component blocks the euphoric “high” associated with opioids. These components, in combination will last for about 24 hours. Success rates, as measured by retention in treatment and one-year sobriety have been reported as high as 40-60% in some studies.
At More Than Rehab, we have found this form of treatment to be successful, helping our patients in the Houston, Texas area avoid the painful process of detox and withdrawal from an opioid or heroin addiction.
Since Suboxone contains buprenorphine, a partial opioid antagonist, it will have less of an effect when it attaches to the opioid receptors in the brain. This does not produce the same high effects of full opioid antagonists like Oxycontin, hydrocodone, morphine or heroin. For patients taking Suboxone, they may experience a mildly pleasant sensation. However, for someone who had developed a dependence on opioids, most patients describe that they feel ‘normal’ after taking Suboxone. If the patient had been experiencing pain symptoms they may experience mild pain relief. When taken properly, Suboxone or buprenorphine will not get a euphoric high like they would when they took oxycodone or heroin.
Since the effects of the buprenorphine lasts a full 24 hours, if a patient who was using this medication-assisted treatment took a problem opioid like heroin or Oxycontin they would not get their usual high. Buprenorphine sticks to opioid receptors so the other opioids could not get in. This is a major benefit of medication-assisted treatments and will ultimately help prevent relapsing while on the medication.
Since Suboxone is only a partial opioid antagonist, taking more of the drug than was prescribed will not allow the patient to get high, unlike other step-down treatments like methadone. This is called the “ceiling effect”. If Suboxone or buprenorphine was taken in the event of an opioid overdose it would help lower the effect of suppression of breathing from the full opioid.
Suboxone contains Naloxone, which helps to discourage misuse and abuse.
Naloxone is the life-saving drug that can be used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. By blocking opioid receptors in the brain, it can be used to prevent suppression of breathing, which in the event of an overdose, can be life-saving. The nasal spray version, Narcan® is available as an over-the-counter medication in 46 states. Since the opioid receptors in the brain have a higher affinity for naloxone, they will take the place of any other opioid present in the central nervous system, which can block any further negative effects.
Suboxone is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. The presence of naloxone prevents the Suboxone from being crushed or injected and abused like any other opioid. Suboxone is administered sublingually as a film or strip that dissolves under the tongue. If it is used any other way, the naloxone will block the effects of the buprenorphine so the user cannot get high. It was designed this way to prevent misuse or further substance abuse. Only when used as directed will the Suboxone work as intended.
How long should Suboxone treatment last?
The length of use for medication assisted treatment varies greatly and depends on the individual situation. Treatment usually lasts between 1 and 6 months, though in some cases it can be recommended for use over 12 months or longer. As the patient stabilizes, the doctor will decide to taper-off dosage, slowly over time. During this maintenance phase of recovery, you should be monitored closely by a medical addiction treatment professional, as results will vary.
Suboxone and buprenorphine treatment will work best in conjunction with other recovery techniques, like individual and group therapy sessions. To begin a lifetime of sobriety, a comprehensive treatment program is recommended. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction to opioids or heroin, please call us today. At More Than Rehab, we want to help make the world a better place, one client at a time. We listen to you, your needs and we will formulate an individualized treatment plan to help you achieve your goal of sobriety. We are available 24/7 and can get the process started, all you have to do is call.
National Prescription Drug Take Back Day: October 27, 2018
Saturday, October 27, 2018, Texas Collection Sites for National RX Take Back Day:
The United States Drug Enforcement Agency’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is this Saturday, (10/27/18). It has been set aside for the safe, convenient disposal of unused, expired or unwanted prescription drugs. On the DEA’s website, you will find a list of Texas collection facilities available to the public on this Saturday, October 27, 2018.
The Centers for Disease Control released troublesome data concerning the drug overdose epidemic that is sweeping the nation. As such, the time to be concerned with how our prescription drugs are being misused and abused is now. The CDC reports that over 72,000 people died in the US from a drug overdose in 2017. This is added to the total of 630,000 people who have died from a drug overdose between 1999 and 2016 in the United States alone. This means that in a little less than 2 decades, when prescription opioids began marketing heavily in the US, we have seen 700,000 fellow Americans succumb to the perils of substance abuse.
This is a huge problem that only seems to be getting worse. In the health care market, doctors currently prescribe around 58.5 opioid prescriptions per 100 people. While opioid prescription rates are currently in decline, the problem of misuse of prescription drugs is persistent and the health risks for our society are very dangerous. It is estimated that currently, 6.2 million Americans are misusing controlled prescription drugs. The CDC’s study also concludes that most of these drugs are obtained from family or friends by raiding their home medicine cabinets.
The DEA’s National Take Back Day is aimed at lowering the exposure rate of these potentially deadly prescription medications. This initiative is hoping to help lower the already high drug overdose death rates. These drugs find their way into the wrong hands much too often and this is a dangerous combination for your community. The National Take Back Day is a way for you to anonymously and confidentially turn in your unwanted and unused prescription drugs. This presents a wonderful opportunity to clean out your home medicine cabinets. Take them to the closest collection location, and you'll know that your old medications are going to be disposed of safely and securely.
Know the facts about prescription pharmaceutical drugs before you throw them in the trash:
- Pharmaceutical drugs can be just as dangerous as illicit street drugs when taken without a prescription or a medical doctor’s supervision.
- Unused and expired pharmaceutical drugs are a serious public health concern. Improper disposal of medications can easily lead to misuse, abuse, accidental poisoning and even overdose deaths.
- The majority of teenagers in the United States who abuse prescription drugs, get them from the medicine cabinets of their own home, or the homes of family members and close friends.
- Non-medical use of pharmaceutical drugs is the most commonly misused or abused substance, second only to marijuana.
- Throwing prescriptions away in the trash is an easy way for people to retrieve them and put them up for sale on the streets of your local community.
- Flushing your unused medication down the toilet is also a bad idea as it can contaminate your city’s local water supply, rivers and streams. Proper disposal can help protect the environment and ultimately save peoples’ lives.
The DEA held a prior Take Back Day in April of 2018. Over 5,000 collection sites were available nationwide and they safely removed and disposed 474.5 tons of unused prescription drugs. As the trend continues it looks like the agency will be holding these events bi-annually happening in the spring and fall of each year.
Are you unable to make it to this October’s Take Back Day? Did the day already pass? Click this link to find out where you can find year-round disposal options for your unwanted, expired or unused prescription drugs: https://apps.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/pubdispsearch/spring/main?execution=e1s1
What Is Fentanyl And Why Is It So Deadly?
As the opioid crisis wages on and a record number of people are dying each and every day from drug overdoses, fentanyl is making news headlines. It is popping up in all sorts of illicit street drugs from heroin, LSD, cocaine, Xanax and even synthetic marijuana aka: spice or K2. Fentanyl is extremely deadly; just a few grains of salt sized dose can be lethal for an adult human being. While fentanyl is extremely potent, it also has a short duration high, so most addicts have to continually re-dose multiple times a day just to support their habit. This is a dangerous combination and the abuse of fentanyl is driving increase of overdose deaths in the United States today.
It is estimated that nearly 72,000 people in the United States died from a drug overdose in 2017. That’s close to 200 people each and every day. – Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
The opioid crisis arguably began in the late 1990’s, with pharmaceutical companies advertising new opioids that were supposedly non-habit forming. American doctors began prescribing these drugs en masse, including OxyContin, Vicodin and Percocet. While big pharma companies were making record profits, they were also creating a new class of drug addicts. This affected all types of people: young, old, rich and the poor. No segment of society has been immune from the effects of the opioid epidemic.
As the government and the medical industry began limiting prescriptions and access to these drugs, a dangerous black-market began to emerge in every corner of America. People began turning to dangerous street drugs like heroin because the withdrawal symptoms from opiates are so painful, they literally cause the user to feel uncomfortably sick. For the drug dealers, heroin is difficult to produce and transport so many saw an economic advantage of pushing a new, more potent drug on our streets: fentanyl.
Since it is so potent (and street drugs are not regulated, nor rarely tested) a tiny error in the production process in a clandestine lab can cause more overdoses and more deaths. This is why you will see one city having multiple overdoses in a few hours or a few days as the result of a ‘bad batch’ showing up in that market. Making matters worse, many who are not even trying to do opioids end up getting fentanyl in other drugs like cocaine, LSD or spice. Drugs that are not at all like opioids but the dealers put it in there to increase perceived potency and increase their profits. The black market is a major problem and people are dying as a result of drug dealers, gangsters and crime syndicates trying to make money on America’s streets.
Our addiction problem is not going away overnight. There have been many theories on ways to approach this massive public health issue. The most likely on to succeed is increased access and resources for effective addiction treatment and rehab programs. Many simply lack the access or funds to attend a private facility. Also, many government-run facilities have a long waiting list where many die waiting to receive treatment for their substance abuse disorder. As the drugs become more and more potent, the crisis will only get worse and more Americans will die day after day.
Emergency preparedness is an important thing most people could do to lessen the chances of an overdose death occurring. Having a Nalaxone kit available can easily save someone’s life. This drug counters the opioid receptors in the brain and can reverse a drug overdose long enough for emergency services to arrive at the scene. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction there are many ways you can help.
Call us now to speak with and addiction specialist at More Than Rehab.