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Subutex offers treatment Options for opiate addiction

The battle against drug dependence keeps advancing. Over the years methadone has been used as treatment in drug rehab facilities for opiate addiction, but since 2000 two drugs have been used for out-patient treatment.

Unlike methadone, which can only be dispensed by authorized treatment centers, patients can now get help from their own physician. Subutex and Suboxone have brought on change in treatment options.

First, What is Heroin/Opiate addiction?

Heroin is a highly addictive drug, made from morphine, which is made from opium, a processed derivative from a natural substance harvested from the seedpods of poppy plants. The drug appears as a white powder, although it is sometimes also seen as a brown powder.

The drug is usually injected, but it can also be smoked, or snorted.

Users inject because the intensity of the high is greater, and chronic users may inject up to four times or more each day.

The user gets his “rush” within seconds after the injection. When the drug is smoked or snorted, it may take up to 15 minutes for it to take effect. The “rush” is not as intense. The National Institute on Drug Abuse warns that regardless of the way the drug is taken, it’s extremely addictive. In recent years, the smoking and snorting of heroin has been widely reported among those seeking treatment for addiction. Many have a misconception that Heroin/Opiate addiction only happens if (they) inject it;

NOT TRUE!

Although people over 30 are the largest user group according to national data, there is an alarming indication that young users are being attracted by a high purity form of the drug, which is also inexpensive. This form of the drug is usually smoked or sniffed, not injected.

What do heroin/opiates do?

Heroin is a central nervous system depressant that gives the user a “rush,” an intense feeling of pleasure, euphoria.

- The user feels a warm flush to the skin. The user’s arms and legs feel heavy, and relaxed.

- Dry mouth is common.

- Users may feel sleepy one moment and be wide awake another.

- The central nervous system is depressed under heroin, and mental functions slow down.

These are all short-term effects.

Long-term, abuse and Heroin/Opiate addiction can lead to:

- Collapsed veins.

- Serious, unseen problems can occur, such as heart problems, infections of the heart lining and valves.

- Cellulites and liver disease can develop, as well as pulmonary disease.

- Addicts who are in poor health are in jeopardy of contracting pneumonia, as heroin depresses the respiratory system.

Users develop a tolerance to heroin and that leads to abuse and Heroin/Opiate addiction. Abusers need more and more heroin to get the same “rush” and as the amount of heroin needed grows, the dependence on the drug takes hold.

Addicts need the drug because their bodies become used to the drug being present, as if it were supposed to be there in order for everything to function.

The BRAIN has been fooled into thinking it “needs” the heroin/opiate.

Reduction in the amount of heroin used produces withdrawal symptoms, even though the addict is still using.

Even after a short period of time, as little as a few hours, the body wants more.

Addicts experience pain in the muscles and bones, diarrhea, chills, vomiting and insomnia. The worst of the symptoms of withdrawal occur 48 to 72 hours after taking the drug, and can linger on for a week.

Addicts who are in poor health are actually at risk of dying if the drug is taken away. However, a withdrawal is not as life-threatening or dangerous as barbiturate or alcohol withdrawal.

Subutex offers treatment Options for opiate addiction

The battle against drug dependence keeps advancing. Over the years methadone has been used in treatment for opiate addiction, but since 2000 two drugs have been used for out-patient treatment.

Unlike methadone, which can only be dispensed by authorized treatment centers, patients can now get help from their own physician. Subutex and Suboxone have brought on change in treatment options.

How does Subutex work?

The Center for Drug Evaluation and Research explains that the active ingredient in both drugs is buprenorphine hydrochloride, used to lessen the symptoms of opiate dependence. The difference between the two drugs is the ingredient naloxone, which is added to Subutex to guard against misuse. Suboxone is administered only in the first days of treatment and Sub-oxone is used thereafter for maintenance. That is why the naloxone is added, as most prescriptions will be for Subutex.

Because there are only a limited number of treatment centers that can dispense methadone, and so many more cases of opiate dependence than available treatment centers, these drugs became the first two Food and Drug Administration-approved medications under the Drug Abuse Treatment Act of 2000. Patients needing treatment for opiate dependence can get prescriptions from their personal doctor for these drugs. It was a good idea back in 2000, because now more patients have access to treatment.

There are serious concerns about abusing these drugs. Death from overdose is possible, especially if the drug is injected with a tranquilizer. If a patient stops using it too fast, they can experience withdrawal symptoms, so the use of Subutex should be exactly as the physician prescribes. Because it's used for maintenance the patient should not stop using the drug without first talking to their doctor.

These drugs have less potential for abuse than methadone, so patients can receive a supply of the drugs to have at home, as they progress in treatment. And because patients can receive take home prescriptions, the FDA developed a plan to detect abuse. If necessary the FDA can initiate tighter controls over the drugs.

No magic pill for Addiction Recovery

While Suboxone and Subutex are effective new ways to battle against opiate dependence, and the convenience of going to one’s own doctor for treatment can be positive, what is missing from the approach to recovery is the human element. We are body, mind and spirit, and a visit to the doctor can help the body, but the mind and spirit are left out.

In addition to the medical intervention, people need people. The opportunity to share one’s personal experience, or to learn from the experience of others is huge. There is therapeutic value in that shared experience. For those seeking relief from opiate dependence, in addition to the medications available to help you through, consider connecting to a group, or receiving help from a behavioral health professional to take care of body, mind and spirit.

Opiate/Heroin Overdose is COMMON

When users buy heroin on the streets they, don’t necessarily know what they are buying. The powder they think is heroin is actually a mixture of other substances heroin.

The heroin is cut with sugar, or quinine, or some other substance, even another drug.

The buyer does not know the dosage of the heroin, or the content of the mixture. As a result, overdoses are common. As users develop a tolerance to heroin, and take more and more to get high, the risks of overdose increase.

Other Health Risks of Heroin/Opiates

Heroin is a major problem because of its serious health risks. Users who mainline heroin are in jeopardy of contracting AIDS and hepatitis from sharing dirty needles, and those users often sustain collapsed veins. Heroin overdose is a serious risk, and too often those overdoses are fatal. Women using this drug while pregnant can suffer a spontaneous abortion.

In another section of this web site we refer to rehab programs that administer alternatives to heroin.

This is done because of the danger involved with cutting the addict off and denying the body the opportunity to reset itself to functioning without the drug.

Conclusion:

Subutex and Suboxone can help with opiate withdrawal symptoms but won’t help with the addiction other treatment is necessary!

That concludes our section on Subutex; visit our home for more addiction information.

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