Suboxone is a partial synthetic opioid drug used to treat opiate addiction and sometimes pain. It is controversial, and physicians and families of addicts are just as likely to call Suboxone a lifesaver as they are a life-threatening drug. One of the psychoactive ingredients in Suboxone is called buprenorphine; buprenorphine eliminates cravings and reduces the need for an opiate addict to take drugs. Suboxone also comes in patch, tablet, injectable and sublingual form.
Although Suboxone is sometimes used to treat pain in opiate-intolerant individuals, “bupe” is more commonly known as a form of opiate replacement therapy. Scientists are also examining whether or not buprenorphine makes an effective treatment for antidepressant- and shock therapy-resistant depression. Methadone is another form of replacement therapy; like methadone, Suboxone is extremely strong. A person who does not have opiate tolerance could very easily overdose and die from taking just one Suboxone pill.
Suboxone itself contains a combination of buprenorphine and Naloxone. Naloxone counteracts the effects of buprenorphine, which should make the drug impossible to abuse via injection — however, law enforcement officials around the country are reporting increased illicit street sales and abuse of Suboxone. Naloxone is commonly used as an anti-overdose drug in people who abuse heroin and other opiates; however, the amount of naloxone in Suboxone is not enough to stop a Suboxone overdose, especially if the drug is combined with another central nervous system depressant.
Also like methadone, Suboxone stays in the body for a long time after ingestion. That means the physical effects of the drug can continue long after the psychoactive effects end. Taking the drug exactly as prescribed is essential, and taking too much Suboxone can easily end in fatal overdose.
How Opiates Cause Addiction
There are well over 100 narcotic painkillers available by prescription and sold illegally on the street. All opioid drugs have their roots in the opium poppy, which has been used for hundreds of years to treat pain, relieve cough and stop diarrhea. Even the weakest opioids are powerful drugs that can cause tolerance, physical dependency and addiction.
Popular opioids include drugs such as Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet, codeine and heroin. Some are stronger and last longer than others, but all opioids produce similar effects. Prescription pills are costlier to purchase and harder to get than heroin, which is why many people who become addicted to drugs such as Vicodin wind up switching to heroin instead.
Under normal circumstances, the brain produces a natural painkilling chemical called dopamine. During times of severe pain, taking a narcotic painkiller forces the brain to flood the body with dopamine, thus providing relief. Narcotic painkillers also affect other parts of the brain that control learning, memory and pleasurable feelings. Over time, the brain builds a strong connection between taking a painkiller and feeling euphoric. Eventually, the brain stops releasing dopamine on its own. This creates cravings to use drugs as well as nearly intolerable physical withdrawal symptoms.
As this physical dependency develops, the brain grows tolerant to the effects of the drug. Taking more and more becomes necessary. This is why people who become addicted to painkillers often have to take dozens of pills every day — amounts that would easily cause another non-addicted person to overdose. Heroin, by then, is easier to find and cheaper to buy. This is how an innocent painkiller prescription can often lead to a dangerous illicit drug such as heroin.
People who become addicted to suboxone are often desperate to quit. Unfortunately, opiates cause the highest relapse rate of any drug because of powerful cravings that can last for months or even years. For some users, an opiate replacement therapy or maintenance program can form the building blocks of an entirely new lifestyle. For others, Suboxone is just another abuse-able drug on the descent back into addiction.
Identifying Suboxone Addiction and Abuse
At 12 Keys Rehab, we believe the best route to living a satisfying and sober lifestyle is one that doesn’t rely on maintenance therapy of any kind. Although we do provide medically assisted detox services that protect our clients from the unwanted effects of physical withdrawal as well as certain medications that address mental health disorders, our clients learn to manage cravings and stay sober without drugs like Suboxone.
However, we understand that some people may develop an addiction to Suboxone and need help quitting. If you notice any of the following symptoms, you may be suffering from a Suboxone addiction:
- Getting multiple prescriptions for Suboxone
- Taking more Suboxone in greater amounts or more frequently than prescribed
- Trading Suboxone for another drug such as heroin
- Hiding or lying about your Suboxone abuse to others
- Combining Suboxone with another substance such as alcohol, a painkiller or a benzo such as Valium or a benzo such as Valium or Xanax
- Trying to wean yourself off Suboxone but always going back to using
- Worsening relationship, reputation or financial problems
- Ignoring responsibilities to focus on getting more drugs
If these symptoms sound familiar, it’s time to get help from a qualified Suboxone rehab. At 12 Keys, we help people beat addiction to dangerous drugs and alcohol every day. Abusing Suboxone can be fatal, so you should never wait until it’s too late.
The experienced and compassionate staff members at 12 Keys Rehab are well qualified to customize a comprehensive recovery plan designed for your unique needs. At our recovery center, you’ll learn why drug abuse became a problem, discover how to manage cravings and drug-seeking behaviors, and rebuild a sober, safer and more satisfying lifestyle.
You don’t have to let a Suboxone addiction define your future. Call us for more information and let 12 Keys Rehab help you find your path to freedom, starting right now.
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