Heroin and opiate addiction are two of the fastest growing health problems currently facing America. Heroin has long been viewed as one of the most dangerous and addictive drugs, and every year, the number of deaths related to opiate use and abuse sky rockets. Detoxing from opiates can be an extremely painful, uncomfortable, and even dangerous process. Addiction recovery experts and therapists are constantly searching for the best way to ease into recovery from this dangerous addiction.
One method of treating recovering addicts has long been prescribing a drug called Suboxone. When it first became popular, Suboxone was hailed by many in the treatment profession as a miracle. Now, however, many doctors and therapists worry that Suboxone, far from being a miracle drug, may actually put addicts at a greater risk for becoming or remaining addicted.
What Is Suboxone?
Suboxone is a drug that contains two different drugs intended to treat opiate addiction. The first drug in suboxone is a drug called buprenorphine, which is an opioid. This drug is helpful for recovering addicts because it allows them to transition from dependency on a more dangerous drug like heroine or oxycontin. The second drug in suboxone is a drug called naloxone, which reverses the effects of narcotics.
This works to ensure that the buprenorphine does not create a pleasurable effect that will be identified by the brain’s reward receptors. It also helps lower the chances that an addict will use other narcotics because of the fact that they will not experience the pleasurable sensation from the drug that their brain is craving. Naloxone is also sometimes used by paramedics and other emergency health professionals to reverse a potentially fatal overdose.
The Unintended Dangers of Suboxone
Although suboxone was developed with the intention of helping recovering addicts to transition into sobriety, it often has the very undesired effect of causing addicts to become addicted to it. Soboxone, like all opiates is highly addictive. This means that a patient who is prescribed suboxone will often become dependent on it, or that they will replace their existing chemical dependency with the drug.
Some doctors and patients argue that while this may not be ideal, it is the “lesser of two evils,” as most healthcare providers agree that suboxone is a less dangerous drug than heroine. This does not mean, however, that suboxone is without its dangers. Suboxone does create a euphoric sensation that, while not as severe as the sensations experienced by heroine users, can certainly make the drug habit forming.
It is also possible to overdose on suboxone. Though the drug’s manufacturers contend that a user is far less likely to overdose on suboxone because of the fact that a plateau of the drug’s peak effects is reached much more quickly than on heroine, many users do in fact abuse the drug and take it to excess. Doing this can cause serious complications, which may even include shortness or lack of breath.
The Alluring Nature Of Suboxone
Though suboxone certainly presents a number of clear dangers to the health of those who use it, it enjoys a place as one of pharmacology’s most popular drugs. Soboxone is a drug that is prescribed legally by certain doctors, who have limits on the number of patients they may treat.
It is also often used illicitly by “Cash Only Clinics” who distribute the drug to addicts who do not have access to heroine, or even young people looking to use the drug recreationally, who have had no previous experience with narcotics. Though many doctors may still consider suboxone the best option for treating addiction, the drug certainly carries with it a number of dangers.