Brent Michael MD

The Opiate Epidemic and Treatments, Why We Use Suboxone

Suboxone has a lower risk of abuse because it doesn’t create a full opioid effect

Recent studies have shown that for every 100,000 people in the U.S, 200 are addicted to heroin. Between 2002 and 2013 heroin use increased by 63 percent, and these metrics continue to rise year on year. Deaths caused by overdose have increased by as much as 300 percent. It is little wonder people refer to it as a “heroin epidemic”.

What are the solutions? And how does one tackle this epidemic? In order to answer these questions, it is necessary to understand addiction, and more specifically, heroin addiction.

Addiction is a disease which requires medical treatment, just like diabetes or cancer.

Being addicted to opioids, like heroin, results in changes in your brain, functionally and structurally and you become dependent on the drug to feel normal. Opiates and heroin bind to the opioid receptors in the brain and any rational thinking is taken over by one overriding thought, which is to get more drugs. Certain medications work by blocking the receptors.

Suboxone Treatments Discourage Misuse

As mentioned in my recent USA Herald article, Suboxone is one of these. It contains “buprenorphine,” which is chemically similar to heroin but without some of the dangerous side effects. In medical terms, it is referred to as a “partial agonist” or an “agonist”. Its function is to mimic the effects of a drug like heroin, attaching to the same receptors in the brain. The fact that it is a “partial agonist” means it doesn’t carry the full effect like heroin but it is enough to make the addict feel better and not need heroin, or other drugs.

Going “cold turkey” is not an option because of the severe withdrawal symptoms, such as diarrhea, extreme pain, vomiting, and dizziness.

Brent Michael, MD Is One Adds Suboxone to his addiction treatment programs
Brent Michael, MD Is One of The Few To Add Suboxone to his addiction treatment programs

Suboxone is an effective treatment with various advantages.

Unlike other treatments for opioid addicts, suboxone has a lower risk of abuse. It contains naloxone, a medication that is used to treat opioid overdoses. It doesn’t create a full opioid effect, which means there is less chance of it being abused.

Suboxone can be prescribed by your family doctor and it can be given in a monthly supply. With this treatment,you don’t need to be hospitalized or be admitted to a residential treatment program.

To date, suboxone treatments have an overall high success rate when compared to other medicines. It’s easier to stick to the program because it discourages misuse.

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