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;


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.


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.

Recovering heroin addict and a mother

by Brooke
(Greenfield, OH)

I am a mother of 3 kids. 2 boys-one is 9 and one is 2 1/2 and a little girl who is 11 months old.

I started using cocaine when my oldest son was about 1 1/2. I did it for almost 2 years until I started going to a doctor who prescribed me Vicodin and Valium at the age of 19. This is how my addiction of opiates began.

I was also working and going to school when my addiction first began. My prescription never lasted me a whole month. I would swap with my mom, my best friend and even my son's Grandpa. If I had no one to swap with I would buy them off the street. And I would trade my Valium for Oxycontin.

I didn't realize then just how addicted to pain pills I actually was. At the age of 20 I had a good job working in an office. I worked there for 2 1/2 years until my son's step mother called the We Tip hot-line on me at my job and I had to resign because I had marijuana in my system on top of my prescription drugs.

This happened on December 7. Two weeks later on Christmas morning while my son was opening his presents I went into a seizure and had to go to the hospital. I had taken 8 Ultram that morning.

So, after they did a drug screen on me, they sent it to my doctor and I got cut off of all my prescriptions because of the marijuana. At this point I have no job, no money, no prescriptions and I go through physical withdrawals for the first time ever.

I would literally be shaking in my bed, sweating profusely until I would get a couple pain pills in me. I got my income taxes in February, 2008..spent $3,500 in one week on Oxycontins! I couldn't believe my money was gone and I didn't pay one dime to rent so I got evicted.

I found out I was pregnant and actually weened myself down with Vicodin and was doing much better. Then, found out I had a miscarriage. I had to have surgery and I got prescribed Vicodin and Xanax.

So right back on the drugs. Eventually I start snorting heroin. That July I find out I'm pregnant again. So this time I decide I have to do something about this seriously. I checked myself into a rehab in Portsmouth in October, 2008. I only lasted 8 days there.

They weened me down with Percosets. It didn't help me any. I got out of there and went to another doctor's office where I was getting prescribed Vicodin and Xanax. They were gone in 2 days.

I snorted heroin throughout that pregnancy until the 8th month when my husband and I got arrested for shoplifting. I had to do 2 days in jail and he got 17 because he had a warrant out.

So, this time my son's step mother calls Children Services on me. But, I didn't stop using right away. It took me about a week to realize that if I didn't stop I was going to lose my baby and my 6 year old son.

So, I go and stay at my dad's and detoxed cold turkey because I couldn't bare the thought of losing my children. I passed a drug test for C.S in 11 days. So, I have my son and he is perfectly healthy weighing in at 7lb. 7oz..nothing wrong with him at all! Just perfect!

So, eventually I start using heroin when he was about 6 weeks old. I started shooting in when he was just a few months old in July of 2009. My husband and I stole anything we could get our hands on. We junked all kinds of things that weren't even ours. We stole from our parents. We lied..we did anything to get our fix.

In February of 2010 we had had enough. We got evicted once again. I went to a rehab called Talbott Hall in Columbus, OH and he went a week later. It had one floor for everyone getting detoxed on Suboxone.

When I left Talbott Hall they sent me home with a prescription of 6 Suboxone and I didn't take any of them because I didn't feel any withdrawals. I thought I was cured and I was strong enough to stay clean on my own.

I relapsed on Percoset in May 2010. My husband and I were split up at this time but we got high together. It seemed it was the only thing that we had in common. So, after we did Percosets a couple times we couldn't find any and starting shooting heroin again.

I'm pregnant and I've relapsed!

I find out I am pregnant just a few weeks after I had relapsed and I still couldn't stop using! I continued to shoot heroin until December 2010 when I drove myself to OSU medical center.

I stayed on a pregnancy detox floor where it was nothing but pregnant women getting detoxed with methadone. I was there for 10 days and I was absolutely miserable. I still felt dope sick and I was in so much pain. The methadone didn't help me at all.

I get out of OSU and 2 days later, I use...again. 8 months pregnant, mind you.. I knew that the chance that I would lose my daughter was huge! And, I still couldn't stop!

So, I keep using until the first week of January. My due date just a month away. I started buying Suboxone off the street. I took them for about a week. I went about 5 days with nothing and ended up going into labor on January 15. The day after I had my daughter a social worker had come into my room because during one of my OB check-ups I had tested positive for THC, cocaine and opiates.

I had explained to her that I went to OSU and got detoxed and she asked if I would take a drug test. So I did and I came back clean! My daughter was clean! It was the scariest thing I had ever been through!

To know that drugs could be the cause of me losing my babies was just awful and I couldn't even stop! I told the social worker my entire story from the beginning and she said I sounded like a pretty smart girl and that made me feel really good.

But, once again after I had my daughter..I relapsed. I had to have an emergency C-section and was in tremendous pain. I only got 1 1/2 days worth of pain medication. I had to take care of my 2 boys on top of my newborn daughter. So, I'm determined NOT to do heroin!

So, we called an old "friend" to ask if he could get us any percosets. We spent $90 on blood pressure pills! I'm just in the worst pain ever at this point! Call another "friend" and spent $40 on Ambien this time when we were told they were Percosets!

So, what happens next?? We call our old dope dealer because we know it's going to be real dope. Now, I'm breastfeeding and shooting heroin. Every time I did it I hated myself more and more and I just knew that I had to stop.

God had blessed me with 2 healthy babies even though I had used heroin 8 of 9 months with each baby. I knew I was else could I explain it? So, once again I start buying Suboxones off the street. I called my own Suboxone doctor in March 2011. I've been taking the Suboxone since then.

The last time I quit taking Suboxone I had relapsed in 3 months. I don't want that to happen again. I definitely don't plan on being prescribed to Suboxone forever but for right now it's keeping me sober. And that's the most important thing to me!

I have depression and anxiety so I take Prozac and Abilify for that as well and it seems to be helping me a lot. I am the happiest I have ever been. I go to AA meetings, I go to church every Sunday, my husband and I started coaching my 9 year old's basketball team.

We are living with his parents right now, but I know I wouldn't be here right now if I were still using. There was a time when my dad wouldn't hand me a $5 bill, but now that he knows I am sober I am driving a Dodge Neon that he paid for and it's in his name. That's how much he trusts me now! And it feels awesome to have that trust back.

My dad is also a recovering addict. He's been sober for about 4 years. I want to share my story and help other addicts out there! I would love to travel to tell my story. I would also love to talk to pregnant women who are addicted to drugs who feel hopeless and maybe I could be that little bit of hope they need.

It may have taken me going through 2 pregnancies using heroin to realize how much God has blessed me, but it's what I had to go through to get to where I am today. God bless!

Success Story
by: Ned Wicker

Dear Brooke,

Your story is amazing. The cycle of addiction and the rough path you were on for so long would certainly have been a death sentence for some people, but you survived, you overcame the odds. It’s good that your marriage held and that you are doing well.

Substance use disorder is such a nasty disease, as even when you were at your lowest points, when you knew that you could kill your babies if you continued to use, the cravings were so powerful that you used anyway.

Your life experience also illustrates how easy it is to get drugs on the street, so even if a person is under a doctor’s care, you can circumvent the system just by making a phone call to an old drug dealer you used to know. The disease takes away our ability to make good choices, but you know the truth and you have done well.

You have also discovered a spiritual side to the recovery process, as under our own power, we are more often than not powerless over those cravings.

We know it’s the wrong thing to do, but we do it anyway. That “power greater than ourselves” is such an importance force to help us stay clean. However we understand that power, we need to place or trust in faith in something other than a diseased mind.

I am pleased that you have found a church home and are learning that our relationship with God is key to our living a healthy and productive life.

You are in my prayers. Blessings for you, your husband and your children.

My story is the same as yours
by: Lindsey

Hey. my name is Lindsey (As I am sure you can tell) and my story is very similar, but I only have one child. We have a lot in common, as most addicts do.

Now that I am sober, I get sick thinking of what I have sold, and done to get dope. I was snorting heroin for a while and started to shoot it when I got pregnant, how pathetic of me. I am now on methadone and it has honestly saved my life.

In your story when you said methadone did not help you, I do not think they gave you the right amount. When I first got on it, I could not function for about a month. I could shoot three grams of dope a day, but I couldn't take 60 mgs of methadone. I nodded out, I seriously could barely function.

But now, I realized, my body had to get used to it which is weird because I have never had to do that with anything else. I am happy to be sober today. I wanna go to church like you but I have no one to go with.

I need to go alone but I am trying to, I just have bad anxiety.

Thank you!
by: Brooke

Thank you guys so much for reading my story! I want to help other addicts! I am so thankful for your comments..that is awesome!

I found my story online and I didn't even know I was clicking on it! I hope others read this and maybe I can be some hope for them!

Take care and God bless!!!

Thank you
by: Sarah

Thank you for writing this, I am an active heroin addict and just found out I am pregnant yesterday.

I'm going to try so hard to stop or at least get on Subutex or something that will be safe for my child, i hope you're still doing well, you have such a beautiful daughter :) it really gives me hope, thank you again!

Keep your head up Sarah!!
by: Brooke

Keep your head up Sarah!!! I know it's rough!! It's one of the hardest things you'll ever do!!!

When i was pregnant with my daughter, I went OSU hospital in Columbus where I was on a detox unit for pregnant women addicted to any kind of opiates from pain pills to heroin. And when I was pregnant with my son i went to Stepping Stones in Portsmouth.

Stepping stones will get you right in if you're pregnant but it's a 90 day program. And the pregnancy detox unit at the hospital I was there for 10 days and they detoxed me with methadone. Doctors don't like to give pregnant women Suboxone/Subutex.

I'll help you as much as I can and give you as many pointers as I can. thanks for reading my story!!

and Finally Remember:

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."
- Matthew 7:7-8

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