Stop Using Suboxone in 5 Steps: Understanding Medication-Assisted Treatment

Stop Using Suboxone in 5 Steps: Understanding Medication-Assisted Treatment

The battle against opioid addiction in America is being fought every day, and many are fighting hard to create more opportunities for treatment and recovery. With more awareness being raised across the country, many are turning to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) methods as a way to address illicit opioid abuse and overdose. One of the most commonly known medications used in MAT is Suboxone.

MAT programs can be very helpful as a harm reduction strategy that gives people struggling with addiction a chance to avoid harmful withdrawals. However, addiction specialists also recognize that MAT alone is not an adequate substitute for comprehensive addiction treatment.

Furthermore, medications like Suboxone can be useful, but only to an extent. This drug may help to curb withdrawal symptoms from opioids like heroin or prescription painkillers, but it is also a powerful narcotic that can cause its own symptoms of dependence and withdrawal. Some people have tried to utilize Suboxone to get off of other drugs, only to find themselves dependent on this medication. So how do you stop using Suboxone?

More About Suboxone

Suboxone is a medication primarily for helping people stop using other opioids. The medication is a combination of two drugs:

  1. Buprenorphine

Most people do not realize that Buprenorphine is itself an opioid. This semi-synthetic opioid medication is different from other opioids because it is a partial opioid agonist. What this means is that its maximal effects are less than full agonists such as heroin or methadone.

However, it still creates feelings of euphoria and respiratory depression. With chronic use, this opioid can still cause physical dependence.

  1. Naloxone

This medication is used to block the effects of opioids, especially when it comes to opioid overdose. It is added to the Buprenorphine to attempt to decrease the risk of misuse. Due to the nature of this medication, if someone takes Naloxone while still experiencing the effects of an opioid it can cause them to go into sudden withdrawal.

The makers of Suboxone do warn that it can be abused in a manner similar to other opioids, both legal and illicit. They issue a number of other warnings for those considering using the medication, including:

  • Injecting Suboxone may cause serious withdrawal symptoms.
  • Suboxone film can cause serious, life-threatening breathing problems, overdose and death, particularly when taken intravenously in combination with benzodiazepines or other medications that act on the central nervous system.
  • One should not drink alcohol while taking this medication, as it can lead to unconsciousness or even death.

Some of the adverse effects of Suboxone use include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Sweating
  • Numb mouth
  • Constipation
  • Painful tongue
  • Redness of mouth
  • Intoxication
  • Disturbance in attention
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Sleep problems
  • Blurred vision
  • Back pain
  • Fainting
  • Dizziness

These are only a few examples. Some circumstances may lead to further complications, including someone being pregnant or living with severe hepatic impairment. You should discuss any decision you make to start or stop using Suboxone with a healthcare professional.

5 Steps to Stop Using Suboxone

  1. Speak with a medical professional

If you have a Suboxone prescription, do not stop taking it without speaking to a healthcare professional first. Abruptly discontinuing a MAT program can not only cause you a great deal of discomfort, but it can be very dangerous. Trying to quit without medical assistance also creates the risk of relapse and overdose.

This is why safe medical Suboxone detox is such an important element of any addiction treatment program.

Before you decide to stop using Suboxone, speak with your personal physician or a medical addiction specialist in order to decide what is the safest and most effective way to move forward.

  1. Taper vs Cold Turkey

When someone goes ‘cold turkey’ to stop using Suboxone, they essentially discontinue without any kind of medical support. Again, we remind you that this can be extremely dangerous and is always counterproductive. A better choice is to develop a plan with a medical professional that utilizes a gradual taper or even medications to assist with withdrawals.

Health experts recommend gradually reducing doses of buprenorphine. Typically, you can lower your dosage over a period of three weeks or more, reducing the doses by 10%-20% each week. The best way to decide how to do this is by working with a medical professional.

  1. Get comprehensive addiction therapy

Another crucial aspect of addiction treatment is the opportunity for comprehensive addiction therapy. Individuals have a much better chance to stop using Suboxone for the long-term when they address the underlying issues that lead them to use opioids in the first place. Sometimes, drug use stems from emotional issues, trauma, or behaviors that are self-destructive. When people avoid addressing these issues, they become vulnerable to relapsing as a means to cope with them later.

Therapy not only helps people uncover the root cause of their pain, but it also teaches people new, healthy ways to cope with these issues.

  1. Build a support group in recovery

Once someone has started the recovery process, a huge part of staying on the right path is to build a support group. It is very difficult to try and stop using Suboxone or any other drug all on your own. Having friends, family or mentors provides people with the resources to reach out to when they are struggling.

When trying to overcome addiction, it can be difficult for some to relate to people who do not understand addiction. Thankfully, there are support groups all over the country that offer assistance to each other while dealing with a specific issue. Most people know of 12-Step programs and other support groups for alcohol or drug addiction.

  1. Participate in aftercare programs

Another useful element of treatment is aftercare. While support groups are extremely helpful, another way to stay involved in the ongoing process of addiction recovery is to get involved in aftercare programs. Many treatment providers will have programs in place to support those who have completed the inpatient levels of care, such as residential treatment, and are ready to transition back into everyday life.

When you stop using Suboxone, it is a good idea to stay connected with those who can offer support and guidance.

Understanding MAT

When a lot of people hear about medication-assisted treatment, they think it is an easy way out of addiction. Some people automatically assume that you can trade an addiction to heroin or Oxycodone for a dependence on Suboxone or another drug and everything will be fine. However, with MAT programs the goal should never be to rely on a medication for the long-term.

Medication-assisted treatment does make a difference. For some people, the fear of withdrawal symptoms keeps them using far more potent and dangerous drugs. Because they do not want to experience the pain, they keep using. Sometimes, this leads to death. So giving someone the chance to reduce the risk by using a prescription medication might keep them alive long enough to get treatment. But that is the important thing- to get the treatment.

Medications like Methadone and Suboxone are only supposed to be one piece of a more comprehensive treatment plan. They are intended to act as a short-term tool to help people ease their discomfort and avoid suffering while they try to give up drugs. MAT programs are only really effective when they are accompanied by therapy and other means of treatment. So if you want to stop using Suboxone and start recovering, seek out a rehab program that wants to help you heal.

Holistic addiction treatment is specifically designed to treat the entire person, not just the addiction. This kind of approach offers a variety of opportunities to develop new coping skills, learn more about addiction and the impact of drugs on the body, and experience innovative treatment modalities to heal the mind, body and spirit. For over 20 years, Palm Healthcare Company has been a leader in providing holistic addiction treatment. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.

CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

Opioids in Tech Industry: Internet Will Not Take the Blame for Crisis

Opioids in Tech Industry: Internet Will Not Take the Blame for Crisis

On the 27th of June, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hosted an Online Opioid Summit to discuss the impact of the digital marketplace on the real-world issue of drug abuse in America. According to earlier reports, the summit was meant to encourage tech officials to collaborate on new initiatives that would take stronger action when it comes to illegal opioids being marketed online. With opioid addiction being such a huge issue today, more effort is being put into stopping the spread of prescription drugs.

However, the summit eventually stirred up a bit on controversy. On one side, the tech companies believe the pharmaceutical companies should be held accountable for the opioid crisis. Meanwhile, the pharmaceutical companies pointed to the tech industry as being more responsible.

So while the hope was to use this summit as an opportunity to bring people together, it still created a new version of the opioid blame game. Should the tech industry really be taking more of the blame?

Tech Leaders in Washington

The summit was organized to bring together leaders in the tech industry, along with academic researchers and advocacy groups. Part of the big draw included representatives from Silicon Valley and social media empires, such as:

The Online Opioid Summit also welcomed lobbyists and government officials to participate in the discussion. The involvement of the tech industry in the opioid crisis has been brought up a lot these past few months in Washington, D.C., including:

  • The testimony of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to Congress months ago
  • At the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit in April, FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said that the tech industry had not done enough when it came to getting rid of illegal drug sales and marketing online.
  • When the FDA sent letters to nine companies, which are responsible for operating 53 online pharmacies, and instructed them to cease the marketing of opioids.

Initially, the FDA’s invitation for the summit suggested the FDA planned to ask tech companies, such as Google and other social media giants, to sign what it called a “Pledge to Reduce the Availability of Illicit Opioids Online.” Had this plan gone through, the pledge would have been published 30 days after the summit.

Tech Industry Pushing Back

However, the FDA decided not to follow through with the plan after speaking at length with tech industry leaders. This may be because the tech companies are pushing back against the claims that they should be held more accountable to the illicit sale of opioids online.

One day before the summit the Internet Association held a call with reporters prior to the summit. For those who aren’t aware, the Internet Association represents various tech industry interests, such as:

  • Amazon
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google
  • Etsy
  • LinkedIn
  • Paypal
  • Reddit
  • Uber
  • Yelp

A representative from the Internet Association reportedly cited research by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The studies they point out state that most people misusing opioids get them from non-online sources.

And even when you do consider the online sale of opioids, reports indicate that either:

  • Most illegal online opioid sales are happening on the dark web.
  • Some “open” websites claim to sell opioids but actually do not. They actually steal people’s information.

Needless to say, the tech industry is not willing to let the burden on blame rest on their shoulders. However, some still say that does not mean they are unwilling to take steps.

Tech Taking Small Steps on Opioids

In order to eliminate opioid sales online, some of the biggest names in the tech industry are taking steps, even small ones. For example:

  • Google

Google implemented a special tool on its homepage back in April to help promote the DEA’s Drug Take-Back Day.

  • Facebook

This social media cornerstone is redirecting users who are trying to buy opioids on the platform to a help hotline.

  • Instagram

As a part of the bigger Facebook family, the photo-sharing app Instagram now monitors hashtags that relate to opioids.

An official from the Internet Association states that many of the trade group’s members:

“-have partnered with nonprofits, health groups and the federal government to educate people about the epidemic and prevent it from spreading.”

While it is a start, some are still asking more of the tech industry. Libby Baney, an advisor to the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies, tells Wired that beyond the small changes being made, these companies also need to acknowledge the role they have played. Baney states:

“This is a historic opportunity to do more with what we already know is true.”

“If it ends up being us versus them and there’s pointing fingers and a lot of ‘We’re already doing this or that,’ that’s an old-school way of thinking that isn’t responsive to the public health need.”

According to Wired, one FDA spokesperson made statements suggesting that this shouldn’t be labeled a loss,

“We will consolidate the feedback and ideas discussed at the summit and turn it into an actionable plan—not just for those in the room but for all internet stakeholders to join.”

For now, the FDA worries that as other means of obtaining opioids are restricted, the online marketplace will keep growing. Hopefully, the tech industry will continue to work with the FDA and other government agencies to find the most efficient and proactive methods for keeping illegal online pharmacies from exploiting their platforms to distribute dangerous drugs.

Should we hold the tech industry responsible for some of the issues with illegal opioid sales? Should they be doing more to help curb the illegal opioid market? Surely, we cannot blame Facebook or Google for the opioid crisis. But what role can they play in helping slow the spread of drugs?

Furthermore, thing we can do to fight addiction together is to make as many resources for effective addiction treatment more available. Part of overcoming the opioid crisis is getting people who are struggling the help that they need. This means offering medical detox options and holistic treatment programs. The easier for people to find reliable treatment resources, the better chance we all have of making our country safer.

Palm Healthcare Company believes in supporting innovation and offering a personalized path for each individual trying to recover from drug or alcohol addiction. We do our best to connect with those who need us most and help them better understand the opportunities available to them. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.

CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

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