The opioid epidemic is out of control. It has been for a while and it continues to be. On average, 130 Americans die each day from opioid overdoses, and although there are many programs, organizations, and individuals that are working hard to decrease that number, it doesn’t seem to be getting better. The United States and the world, in general, are nowhere near getting this epidemic under control.
However, even though addiction is overwhelming and is crippling to those it strikes, there is hope. Many people have broken free from their own addictions and set an example for those who are still struggling. The best way to recover from addiction is different for everyone. Some succeed based on will and therapy alone. Others are able to recover thanks to experiences with ibogaine. Still others turn to drugs like Suboxone to help them on their journey.
Some people look down upon Suboxone users, though. They believe that taking Suboxone is just trading one drug for another drug and that people who use Suboxone are not truly in recovery. Many also worry that Suboxone itself may be addictive as well.
Is Suboxone addictive? How can people in recovery who use Suboxone avoid addiction to it if so? Is a Suboxone addiction safer than an addiction to opioids? Is Suboxone truly just trading one drug for another, and if so, should it be avoided even if it might save your life?
Read on to learn more about Suboxone and for the answers to some of these questions.
What Is Suboxone?
You have probably heard of Suboxone. This is a brand name for a medication that combines two different drugs that work to help decrease opioid cravings. The two drugs are buprenorphine and naloxone, and the only application of this combination is to treat opioid use disorder.
When people try to quit using prescription opioids or heroin, they will experience intense and painful withdrawals that are, for many, unbearable. However, when they take Suboxone on a regular basis, they are more easily able to manage these withdrawals. Suboxone helps to reduce the symptoms of withdrawal for about twenty-four hours.
There are two ways to consume Suboxone. It is available as a tablet or in a dissolvable film form. Both of these delivery methods are dissolved in the patient’s mouth. Patients can take Suboxone at home independently; methadone, which works in a similar way to decrease withdrawal symptoms, must be administered at a clinic by medical staff.
How It Works
Buprenorphine is the primary ingredient in Suboxone. This medication is a partial opioid agonist; it works in a way that is similar to true opioids, without actually being an opioid. As a result, the effects of buprenorphine are similar to the effects of opioids but are far milder.
Naloxone also plays an important role in the effectiveness of Suboxone. Many people are familiar with naloxone because it is used to treat people who overdose on opioids. In both situations, naloxone works as an opioid antagonist or blocker. In the case of Suboxone, naloxone makes it so Suboxone can only be used as directed. If a user tries to inject Suboxone in an attempt to experience more opioid-like effects, it won’t work. In fact, he or she will get very sick. Naloxone’s presence in Suboxone is to discourage users from doing that.
When someone working on recovery is prescribed Suboxone and uses it, he or she will not feel the same as when he or she was using actual opioids. However, the mild, opioid-like effect is effective in helping to reduce cravings. This reduction in cravings and the reduction in withdrawal symptoms helps that person to avoid using and to avoid succumbing to relapse.
How Suboxone Helps People
Suboxone is effective in the short term, but patients must continue taking it for a long time for ultimate success. 49% of people who are prescribed Suboxone stay clean while taking the drug, according to one study, but the success rate drops to just 8.6% when they stop.
This treatment can be very helpful for people wishing to break free from their addiction but it doesn’t work for everyone. People who choose this path must continue to take Suboxone for a long period for positive results. They may have to remain on Suboxone for six months or even a year or more before they can begin to slowly taper off it under a doctor’s supervision. If they try to wean themselves off it quickly, they will experience opioid cravings, and this could result in the use of actual opioids and a return to active addiction.
Is Suboxone Addiction Likely?
Addiction to Suboxone is unlikely. The risk of addiction to Suboxone is far less than the possibility of becoming addicted to true opioids. If someone suddenly stops taking Suboxone he or she will experience mild withdrawal symptoms but they are minimal in comparison to the withdrawal symptoms the same person would experience when stopping actual opioid use.
Further, the inclusion of buprenorphine in Suboxone creates a built-in ceiling for this medication. If a person tries to take more Suboxone than directed by their doctor, he or she will not experience stronger effects. This helps to limit attempts to abuse Suboxone.
The Suboxone Trade-Off
Many people suggest that people who use Suboxone are just trading one addiction for another. Depending on how you look at it, this could be viewed as true. Suboxone users are dependent on Suboxone just like opioid users become dependent on opioids.
However, addiction and dependence are not entirely the same thing. Their meanings are actually different. When someone is dependent on a substance, they will feel physical cravings when that substance is removed from the equation. However, if they are addicted to a substance, their dependence is so out of control that they are actually controlled by the substance. Dependence can be overcome more easily than addiction. In time, addiction will kill a user.
Suboxone gives people with opioid use disorder the option to step down from their addiction in a way that they can manage over time. For many, the availability of this option will save their lives. Medication-assisted addiction treatment does not work for everyone, but those who do benefit from it are immensely thankful that Suboxone helps to give them the strength and support to break free from their addiction to opioids.
Suboxone is just one of many different ways to try to get clean and sober after any length of opioid addiction. It is not the only way, but it has helped many people so far and it will continue to do so. Suboxone is not addictive and it may be the thing that will save your life or the life of a loved one. It is certainly worth a try.
If you are interested in reading about another fantastic way to break free from addiction, check out the rest of our site. Many people have experienced a successful recovery after participating in an ibogaine experience. Unlike Suboxone, which users will need to continue taking for a long period, ibogaine can be effective after a week at our facility.
Clear Sky Recovery is one of the world’s leading ibogaine treatment centers. It is located in beautiful Cancun, Mexico and we would love to talk to you about the ways that we can help you. Please contact us today.