Drug overdose deaths and opioid-involved deaths continue to increase in the United States. Deaths from drug overdose are up among men and women, adults of almost all ages, and all races. When it comes to opioid addiction treatment, there are tools to help you or a loved one have an easier transition off of opioids. One of the treatment alternatives that has been approved for use in a private office setting is Suboxone®, a partial opioid antagonist containing buprenorphine (a partial opioid agonist) and naloxone (a pure opioid antagonist).
Opiates have a far-reaching umbrella and include drugs such as morphine, heroin, oxycodone (which includes Percocet® and OxyContin®), hydrocodone (which includes Lortab® and Vicodin®), fentanyl and even codeine. The reason it is so easy for some to become addicted is twofold: One is people can become tolerant to the drug where more is needed over time to experience the same feelings, and the other is the ability of the drug to activate receptors in the brain. There are natural receptors in the brain that everyone has, and opioids can activate these because their chemical structure mimics that of a natural neurotransmitter. This tricks the brain and targets its reward system with dopamine, which gives feelings of pleasure, emotion, motivation and cognition.
Benefits of Suboxone® Treatment
The benefits of Suboxone® treatment are many. First of all, Suboxone® is prescribed in an outpatient addiction treatment center, which means that you do not have to change your lifestyle and enter into an in-patient program. At the appropriate dose, there is a reduction in full opioid antagonists’ effects, fewer cravings for other types of opioids, and a suppression of withdrawal effects from opioids such as prescription pills and heroin. Full antagonists bind to the natural opioid receptors in the brain and cause them to produce endorphins which produces euphoria, pain relief, and more.
Along with the benefits mentioned above, opiate addiction treatment centers that use Suboxone® offer specific advantages such as:
- High Success Rate. In a study done by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, out of 600 people addicted to painkillers, those who took Suboxone® had a 49 percent reduced usage of prescription pills, but that number dropped to a little over 8 percent when Suboxone® was stopped being used.
- Privacy. Instead of having to come in for treatment on a daily basis, a Suboxone® physician prescribes the medication, and you take it to your normal pharmacy to be filled. This means that you do not have to sacrifice time with your family or fear that you will lose your job by having to go in for help at inconvenient times.
- Affordability. Most programs can provide visit and payment documentation for you to file with your insurance and can assist you to apply for prescription assistance programs.
- Lower Risk of Abuse. There is a lower risk of abuse with Suboxone®. This is due to the naloxone, which does not produce the high that is found in opioids.
Opioid addiction does not have to win. Medication-assisted treatment may be the right avenue to take for yourself or a loved one.