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Dangers Of Using Suboxone for Opiate Withdrawal

Thousands of people a year confide in me looking for advice for the best way to get clean from opiates. They look for tricks of the trade and little tips that may make the process a little easier. I'm also available to give positive words and motivation to help those looking to free themselves of their addiction.  A lot of times when addicts are going through the withdrawal process, they find themselves in a very dark place and look for more options. Many people look to Suboxone as a way to ease their withdrawal symptoms and keep them from falling back to abusing opiates and painkillers..

Suboxone is the popular name for the drug Buprenorphine. It is a semi-synthetic opioid that is used to treat pain and help with withdrawal symptoms. It works by filling nuerotransmitters in the brain, tricking it into thinking that the person is still using opiates. Whenever I explain to people what this drug does, I refer to a square, circle and triangle. Your brain has been using opiates for so long, your receptors for this explanation are the square, circle, and triangle. When you take opiates, these shapes fill in certain parts of the brain releasing specific chemicals linked to pain reduction and euphoria.  When you stop using opioids, you have no shapes filling the receptors in the brain and withdrawal symptoms begin. If you take Suboxone, the shapes are filled in, but you will not get the high that is common with opiates. The problem with Suboxone is that you need to constantly take the medication or you will become very ill and the withdrawal symptoms will start.

Now don't get me wrong, Suboxone has helped lots of people get off of opiates. I know plenty of people who have taken this medication and are completely ok with staying on it for life if it keeps them from abusing opiates. The issue I do have with this medication is the lack of education that is given to those that are prescribed it. Most people do not know that Suboxone is a long-term treatment option. If you are trying to get clean from all medications, Suboxone is not a treatment you will want to start.

Over the years I have spoken with people that have been prescribed over 16mg per day of Suboxone for over 2 years. If you are prescribed Suboxone, I believe your overall goal would be to wean yourself off so you do not have to take it for the rest of your life. If you do get prescribed it, ask your doctor for a clear plan as to how long you will be on it. Will your dosages gradually decrease over time? Explain that you do not want to take this medication forever and would like the safest plan for tapering.

A lot of individuals I talk to wish they never started Suboxone in the first place.  Some of them have told me that they feel worse coming off of  Suboxone than they ever did while using painkillers or heroin. Please educate yourself on all options available before switching from one prescription painkiller to another, it may be the best decision you ever make.


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