An addiction to any substance can be a tragic matter for everyone involved — users and their loved ones — but few drugs are as catastrophic to one’s life as opioids. Opioids are a major problem in the United States, so much so that in 2019 about 10.1 million people, ages 12 or older, misused opioids or opiates (naturally found opioid substances i.e. heroin). Of that 10.1 million, 745,000 used heroin, and 9.7 million misused prescription opioids. Furthermore, the average life expectancy in America declined because of opioid overdoses between 2015 and 2017. Since this period, life expectancy has only recovered by 0.16 percent. At the same time, drug overdose deaths have increased by 4 percent every year, 67.8 percent of which were opioid overdoses (in 2017).
What Is Suboxone?
Suboxone is a prescription medication that is used to treat opioid addiction. It is a combination of two drugs: buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is an opioid partial agonist, which means it attaches to the same receptors in the brain as other opioids but does not create the same level of euphoria or sedation as full agonists like heroin or prescription painkillers. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist, which means it blocks the effects of opioids, deterring abuse of Suboxone.
Suboxone is usually administered as a tablet, sublingually, which means it is placed under the tongue and allowed to dissolve. In this way, the medication absorbs into the bloodstream more quickly and effectively than other medications with the same purpose. Suboxone is a Schedule III controlled substance, which means it has a lower potential for abuse and dependence than Schedule I or II drugs, such as heroin or fentanyl.
Although Suboxone is a far safer and more effective alternative to other commonly used MAT drugs, it can be misused, and the potential for abuse and dependence should not be overlooked. If taken in higher than prescribed doses or in combination with other opioids, it can lead to respiratory depression, sedation, and even death. If Suboxone is injected, the naloxone component of the medication can cause immediate withdrawal symptoms.
In addition to the risks associated with misuse, there are also potential side effects of Suboxone when taken strictly as prescribed. These may include drowsiness, dizziness, headache, nausea, and constipation. Some people may also experience allergic reactions to the medication. It is important to speak with a healthcare professional about any side effects.
It is also important to note that Suboxone is not a cure for opioid addiction. It is a tool that can help manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings, not a standalone treatment. Counseling and therapy are also important parts of medication-assisted treatments and the recovery process.
We Can Help You Overcome
Opioid addiction is a serious disorder that has harsh consequences for everyone involved. If you or a loved one is battling opioid use disorder, please contact us today. We have the means and motivation to help you overcome your addiction and live a full and healthy life.