There is not a shortage of stories in the media about how the drug Suboxone may be the answer to the opioid epidemic. These stories depict opioid addicts as chronic relapsers, and claim that Suboxone may serve as a preventative solution to this potentially life-threatening pattern, if only it were more widely available.
It is difficult to make a case against such stories because it is obvious that this drug prevents overdoses from these opioid drugs; however, it is important to note that long-term use of Suboxone can be a trap in itself. Individuals with a history of addiction may find it difficult to come off of Suboxone once they have beat their addiction to opioids, thus, essentially trading one drug for another.
Masses of opioid addicted individuals are being told a harsh reality– that they will never be free of the drug. They are being fed high doses: upwards of four milligrams, which is equivalent to one hundred thirty to five hundred milligrams of morphine. The average daily dose of Suboxone is sixteen to twenty four milligrams, which, to the manufacturer’s delight brings in more than a billion and a half dollars annually.
Living or Thriving?
These drug dependent individuals are alive; however, they may feel like the living dead in many aspects. Many Suboxone patients report uncomfortable side effects which include eyesight problems, decaying teeth, exhaustion, gastrointestinal complications, hormone dysregulation, difficulty feeling emotions, trouble with sex drive, and erectile dysfunction.
Some Suboxone patients report difficulties with day-to-day functioning such as simply getting out of bed, managing stress without anxiety attacks, digesting, and maintaining energy levels. They generally do not feel up to life challenges; however, they continue to take it because they know that the repercussions of the absence of the substance in their system is worse than the side effects. For people who have major responsibilities such as families and high power jobs, they simply cannot afford to be any more sick than they already are.
Doctors push high milligram amounts of the drug on their patients for whatever unknown reasons, which are certainly up for speculation, such as thirty-two milligrams. These inappropriately high milligrams make the user nod out, thus making them non-functional. Even at with a regimen that is half that dose, long-term side effects can be felt such as dental problems and hair loss. The drug may make the user feel better initially; however, it will eventually overtime rear its ugly head and become the user’s enemy.
There is a present problem with the current medical treatment for opioid addiction in the U.S., and that is that the solution in the minds of so many medical professionals equals Suboxone. The medical field needs to realize that there are other options available besides Suboxone. There is another drug called Vivitrol, which is an injectable form that works by blocking the opioid receptors, also called naltrexone, and only needs to be administered about once a month.
A more proper method of getting off of opioids is being proposed. Rather than putting patients on a long-term Suboxone maintenance program, a patient should be initially placed on Suboxone to ease them off of prescription opioids or heroin, then taper them off of Suboxone and give them Vivitrol as a replacement while other modalities to propel the recovery and healing process are utilized.
Methods That Truly Work For Recovery
The sad truth is that the major media focuses on promoting Suboxone as the main treatment for opioid detoxification, while other, more safer methods of treatment are generally ignored. Such treatments for getting opioid dependent individuals off of the drug include acupuncture, biofeedback, and transcranial magnetic stimulation. While these holistic methods may work when utilized with patience at a slow pace, we must ask ourselves, why it is so common that in the American culture that treatment for any condition means the use of drugs? Perhaps that is the true root of the problem. Entertain that answering that question will help to bring us to a solution to this issue.
Definitely the fact that it is faster, which means that it is instantly gratifying, which means that it satisfies the drug addict mentally plays a major role. An addict who is going through withdrawal, and is administered Suboxone, will not be going through withdrawal within about a half an hour. On the other side, holistic methods really heal, rather than just masking the withdrawal. They just take a little more time.
The bottom line is that long-term Suboxone maintenance is bad. The average Suboxone dependent individual who has been on the drug for an extended period of time wants to quit. Their desire to quit needs to be respected, and their doctors need to help.