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We want to help you create a better life. Your problem with heroin, codeine, percodan, or other opiates, is putting you at great risk for never-ending emotional, physical, financial and legal problems. In fact, these problems are probably out of control and may be life threatening.
Our goal is to provide a safe place for you to deal with your problem. Our professionals use carefully controlled medication and support services that fit your special needs. Now is the time to take the first step in dealing with your drug / opiate addiction problem. Contact us now for a confidential appointment.
Prescription Drug Addiction
Prescription drugs make difficult and complex surgery possible, relieve pain for millions of people, and enable many with chronic medical conditions to control their symptoms and lead productive lives. Most people who take prescription medications use them responsibly. However, extensive use of prescription drugs is a serious public health concern because the continued use of prescription opioid-based drugs can lead to abuse and addiction, characterized by compulsive drug seeking and sometimes criminal behavior.
Addiction doesn’t always occur among people who use opiate pain relievers, however, inappropriate use of prescription drugs can lead to opiate addiction in some cases. Patients, healthcare professionals, and pharmacists all have roles in preventing misuse and addiction. For example, if a doctor prescribes a pain medication, the patient should follow the directions for use very carefully, and educate themselves on what effects the drug could have—along with potential interactions with other drugs—by reading all information provided by the pharmacist. Physicians and other health care providers should screen for any type of substance abuse during routine history-taking with questions about what prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines the patient is taking, how much and why.
From the mid-1960s through the first years of the current century, individuals who chose to participate in medically assisted opiate addiction recovery programs in the United States basically had one choice to help them overcome their chemical dependence: methadone maintenance.
In October 2002, treatment options increased when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved two additional medications, Suboxone and Subutex, for use in opioid addiction programs.
How Suboxone Works
Suboxone contains a combination of buprenorphine — which has been approved for use in the United States as an analgesic (painkiller) since the 1980s — and naloxone.
- Buprenorphine — As a partial opioid agonist, buprenorphine affects the same areas of the brain as are impacted by commonly abused opioids such as heroin and morphine. However, in an effect similar to that of methadone, buprenorphine use does not cause the euphoric high that results from using heroin, morphine and similar substances.
- Naloxone — An opioid receptor antagonist, naltrexone is often used to offset the effects of opioid overdose. Its presence in Suboxone is designed to dissuade individuals from attempting to abuse the medication by grinding into a powder and snorting or injecting it. If the designed release mechanism of Suboxone is “hacked” in this manner, the naloxone will trigger the immediate onset of painful withdrawal symptoms.
As is the case with methadone maintenance, professionally supervised Suboxone use blocks the drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms that will normally affect addicted individuals who stop using heroin, morphine or other opioids.
Thus, patients who are treated with Suboxone are able to function in a healthy and productive manner without experiencing either the intoxicating effects of opioids or the pain and sickness that is associated with withdrawal.
Suboxone comes in tablet form (either 2mg or 8 mg), and is taken by allowing the pill to dissolve under the tongue.
Like Suboxone, Subutex is used in medically assisted opioid addiction treatment programs. The primary difference between Subutex and Suboxone is the presences of naloxone.
While Suboxone contains naloxone in an effort to prevent patients from abusing the medication, Subutex consists entirely of buprenorphine hydrochloride — and thus is primarily used during the first few days of treatment, or by patients whose physicians have determined they are not at risk for misusing the substance.
As is the case with Suboxone, Subutex is most commonly used in sub-lingual tablet form (either 2mg or 8mg pills).
Suboxone Facts & Statistics
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) have provided the following information about the use, effectiveness and safety of the two anti-addiction drugs containing buprenorphine, Suboxone and Subutex:
- Studies have shown that buprenorphine is more effective than placebo and is equally as effective as moderate doses of methadone and LAAM in opioid maintenance therapy. (SAMHSA)
- The agonist effects of buprenorphine increase linearly with increasing doses of the drug until at moderate doses they reach a plateau and no longer continue to increase with further increases in dose — the “ceiling effect.” Thus, buprenorphine carries a lower risk of abuse, addiction, and side effects compared to full opioid agonists. (SAMHSA)
- A large NIDA-sponsored multisite clinical trial demonstrated buprenorphine’s ability to reduce opiate use and drug cravings in heroin abusers, and confirmed its safety and acceptability. (NIDA)
- Because of its ceiling effect and poor bioavailability, buprenorphine is safer in overdose than opioid full agonists. The maximal effects of buprenorphine appear to occur in the 16–32 mg dose range for sublingual tablets. Higher doses are unlikely to produce greater effects. (SAMHSA)
One final note from the National Alliance of Advocates for Buprenorphine Treatment (NAABT) regarding the question of addiction, Suboxone and Subutex:
“Although there is the potential for addiction to buprenorphine, the risk is low,” NAABT reports on its website. “Buprenorphine will maintain some of a patient’s existing physical dependence to opioids, but that is manageable and can be resolved with a gradual taper once the patient is ready.”
A synthetic narcotic that was developed by German scientists in the 1930s in anticipation of wartime morphine shortages, methadone is best known today for its effectiveness in medically assisted addiction recovery programs.
Methadone was introduced in the United States in the 1940s, when it was marketed as a painkiller under the trade name Dolophine. Physicians began to use the drug to treat opioid withdrawal symptoms in the 1950s, and large-scale testing on the drug’s ability to help individuals overcome addictions to drugs such as heroin began in the mid-1960s.
Over the ensuing decades, researchers have subjected morphine to a series of rigorous scientific evaluations in order to assess both its efficacy and its safety when used as part of a professionally supervised addiction treatment program.
With decades of documentation supporting both the usefulness of methadone maintenance and the long-term safety of the drug when taken as part of a supervised addiction treatment program, methadone has enabled countless former addicts to free themselves from the chains of their addiction and resume their pursuit of healthy, sober lives.
How Methadone Works
Methadone is an “opioid agonist,” which means that it blocks the brain receptors to which heroin, morphine and other opioids attach. Methadone offers two significant benefits to individuals who use this drug in order to overcome an opioid addiction:
- Methadone significantly diminishes the ability of drugs such as heroin and morphine to create a sense of euphoria in individuals who abuse these illicit substances.
- Methadone blocks the onset of withdrawal symptoms and cravings that would normally accompany an attempt to end one’s dependence upon heroin, morphine or other opioids.
Though it is an opiate itself, methadone is able to fulfill the body’s cravings while not providing any euphoric rush — meaning that individuals who are taking part in a professionally supervised methadone maintenance program are able to go about their daily lives without being either high or sick.
Methadone Facts & Statistics
The U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy offers the following insights into the use, effectiveness and safety of methadone:
- Taken orally once per day, methadone suppresses withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings for between 24 and 36 hours.
- Though methadone patients remain physically dependent upon an opioid (methadone), they are freed from the uncontrolled, compulsive and disruptive behaviors that often accompany addictions to heroin and other dangerous narcotics.
- Effective methadone maintenance allows former addicts to experience a biochemical balance that allows them to focus on the social, therapeutic, relational and vocational progress that they need to make.
- Patients may remain in methadone treatment programs for years, even decades, without suffering from severe side effects. When methadone is taken under medical supervision, long-term maintenance causes no adverse effects to the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, bones, blood, brain, or other vital body organs.
ONDCP reports that methadone maintenance is one of the most highly regulated and closely monitored health care programs in the United States — and studies indicate that weekly heroin use decreases by nearly 70 percent among outpatient participants in methadone maintenance programs.
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