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Los Angeles IOP Drug Rehab for Addiction and Mental Health Disorders

Suboxone Addiction Treatment

Learn more about Suboxone and treatment options at NuView Treatment Center

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Would you like to speak with someone who cares? Are you searching for treatment options for your opioid use disorder? Do you feel overwhelmed by how much there is to think about when trying to find a recovery program that will work just right for you? Our team is able to provide professional help, so don’t be afraid! Make the first move and reach out. When looking for ways to deal with your Suboxone addiction, NuView Treatment Center can provide all the resources and support you need to begin the healing process.

Individualized Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder in Los Angeles

NuView Substance Abuse Treatment Center Los Angeles offers a myriad of evidence-based treatment solutions for individuals who are suffering from addiction to Suboxone as well as other substances. Our addiction treatment center is located on the Westside of Los Angeles and we ensure that every client receives our nonjudgmental and caring attention by offering comfortable living conditions in which they can develop new coping skills. It’s critical to understand that everyone develops their substance abuse habits for different reasons so we spend considerable effort providing unique rehab program plans to match up with each client’s specific needs.

Evidence-Based Rehab Programs for Suboxone Addiction

Our addiction experts and counselors help individuals with addictions by crafting an individualized plan that helps our clients overcome the issues that have resulted in their addiction. Often these individuals are using drugs to fill a void after experiencing pain or loss in their lives. By using a counseling approach that combines both one-on-one and group therapy, we address the specific issues our clients are dealing with – whether those issues stem from before they had started using drugs or if there are residual issues popping up throughout the process of recovery. We work to help replace old unhealthy coping strategies with healthy alternatives. This two-pronged method is more effective for achieving long-term sobriety than simply quitting cold turkey, because it builds a foundation for a satisfying life without drugs.

Flexible Outpatient Programs in Los Angeles

At NuView Treatment Center, we are unwaveringly committed to offering Suboxone treatment tailored to the individual needs of each patient. Our outpatient programs offer patients the opportunity to work or attend school while getting addiction recovery help. Evening programs are available so individuals can get professional help while maintaining their commitments, personal relationships, and child care without interrupting their schedules. With one-on-one counseling sessions throughout their recovery process at Addiction Campuses, addicts will have ample resources at their disposal in the form of other patients and staff members from our Los Angeles rehab center throughout this important transition period.

Affordable and Insurance-Covered Addiction Treatment

We understand that addiction is a lifelong challenge, and we want to be there for you when you need our help on the long path to sobriety. We offer a sustainable treatment program that directly addresses the unique needs of each one of our clients. Whatever you go through with this illness – whether it’s anxiety, depression, or any other symptom of substance abuse disorder – we can help by offering counseling and support from our dedicated staff members who will do everything they can to help you in your quest for recovery!

What is Suboxone Addiction?

A medication used to treat opioid use disorder, Suboxone is a combination medication that contains two drugs, buprenorphine and naloxone. Both of these drugs are often prescribed separately to treat people suffering from opioid addiction. When they are combined they offer unique effects that are particularly effective at mitigating symptoms of opioid withdrawal. That being said, Suboxone itself can be a particularly potent drug of abuse for recreational opioid users.

The drug has been on the market since 2002, and a generic formulation of the drug has been available since 2018. Suboxone is generally taken using one of two routes of administration, either as sublingual tablets that go under the tongue or that dissolve in the cheek. Suboxone is an essential drug for treating opioid addiction, and it ranks as the 288th most prescribed medication in the United States.

Suboxone is an opioid medication that is prescribed by doctors to help those with opioid addictions avoid withdrawal symptoms. However, the medication may become addictive on its own and one should be aware that it can have the same addictive effects as heroin and other recreational opiates. The irony of all this is that many people who are prescribed Suboxone lack sufficient education when it comes to addiction and recovery, so some people using this drug for a legitimate health-related reason end up abusing it or becoming addicted to it.

When it comes to the high, Suboxone has less intensity than other opioids so it isn’t likely to cause as intense of a reaction as one might experience when they take a stronger opioid. That said, abusing Suboxone can still be possible and can even result in dangerous side effects like respiratory problems and coma.

These individuals may be misusing Suboxone because they are seeking relief from the symptoms of opioid withdrawal, or they may simply be trying to get high. A thriving black market for Suboxone also exists. Although it’s not an addict’s drug of choice, availability on the streets has increased in recent years as a result of increased popularity.

Though many find that it helps to lessen their withdrawal symptoms and feels very similar to opioids like oxycodone or hydrocodone, abusing this prescription medication is still quite dangerous. Taking Suboxone without proper medical supervision or guidance can lead to serious consequences. Abusing the drug regularly actually intensifies addiction because people will be less likely to seek professional treatment options to help recover from their addiction. Consistently increasing one’s dosage amounts can also cause an overdose.

Suboxone addiction, like other opioid addictions, is not easy to fight off on one’s own. Many cultures stigmatize addiction to a considerable extent, spreading messages that people who abuse drugs like Suboxone simply need to exert more willpower. Addicts are told continually — and often tell themselves — that they are weak and need to be stronger.

Many people may be in denial about their own addictions as well. The mass media often depicts addiction in a stereotyped way, causing people to believe that unless they’ve lost everything, there’s no way they can be addicts. The reality is that addiction can affect anyone, the most destitute to the most affluent. It is also a very real condition that has nothing to do with personal character or strength of will. Just as a broken leg requires a cast and can’t be expected to merely heal on its own through sheer willpower, addiction requires outside help.

How Does Suboxone Addiction Happen?

Suboxone is a medicine that works by stopping cravings for opioids in the brain. It’s used to help people who have become addicted to prescription pain medicines such as codeine, morphine and fentanyl. It can help with the withdrawal symptoms that occur when someone stops taking them. When people abuse this drug, though, it can be a source of addiction itself.

People who intend to get “high” off of Suboxone face numerous obstacles. The nature of the drug itself is the main one. The primary component of Suboxone, buprenorphine, has a ceiling – meaning that it is impossible to get any higher after a certain point even if a greater quantity of the drug is taken. While some abusers have found ways to compensate for this by tampering with their medication, it is important to recognize that Suboxone also contains naloxone. This medication, when taken at high doses, can send a person into immediate opioid withdrawal – certainly the opposite of a “high.”

While less common than other opiate addictions, Suboxone abuse and misuse is common. Many people remain on Suboxone a long time without ever working on recovering from their opioid addiction. As such, Suboxone can allow addicts to remain “high-functioning” without ever engaging in any activities to improve their lives in a deep and lasting way.

What are the Signs of Suboxone Abuse and Addiction?

Identifying whether someone is addicted to Suboxone can be difficult, especially because the medication is prescribed to those who are trying to recover from opiate abuse. Individuals using the medication as prescribed may still exhibit tell-tale signs of opioid use disorder – while working towards their recovery goals. However, for people who are exhibiting certain behaviors in their day-to-day lives, there may indeed be an underlying problem with addiction. If a person continues taking the prescription drug Suboxone without actively engaging in other aspects of a recovery program or if they seem uninterested in completely getting off opiates, there’s a really good chance there might be a problem developing.

Common symptoms of Suboxone addiction include:

  • “Doctor shopping” or having more than one prescription.
  • Buying the drug illicitly
  • Fluctuations in weight and dramatic changes in physical appearance
  • Snorting crushed up pills
  • Unexplained hostile behavior, aggressiveness, or agitation
  • Lying about usage to friends, family,, and loved ones.
  • Taking higher doses or more frequent doses than prescribed
  • Off-label use
  • Using the medication to experience a “high”
  • The inability to stop taking it despite a powerful desire to stop.
  • The inability to feel joy without the drug
  • Lack of ambition or feelings of indifference
  • Strong cravings or withdrawal symptoms if stopped.

Do I Have a Suboxone Addiction?

Addiction to prescription narcotics is an epidemic in the U.S. today and can be extremely destructive. If you suspect a friend or family member is struggling with addiction, it is important that you observe them closely and look for signs of erratic behavior or new personality traits that seem odd. Addiction to prescription drugs is extremely common and can be dangerous. If you find yourself feeling the need to escape your reality through the use of any pills, including painkillers, you should be aware that there is a good chance that you’re addicted. Oftentimes even loved ones and friends are in denial about drug addiction because they don’t want to admit that someone they know is struggling.

One of the factors that can help determine whether or not you are addicted to prescription opioids is determining if there’s a pattern in your behavior. If you frequently go from one doctor to another to get different prescriptions, then it could be a sign that you have an issue. Sometimes known as “doctor shopping,” this type of behavior is unacceptable and should be corrected immediately. You may require detox when your situation calls for it. If you believe you might suffer from an addiction to certain prescription medications, it’s very important that you seek medical care before your situation gets any worse so that you can recover correctly and maintain the best possible mental and physical health going forward!

How Can I Help Someone with a Suboxone Addiction?

If you’re a family member, friend, or loved one of someone who is abusing a prescription drug containing buprenorphine it’s time to have a serious intervention. Buprenorphine is the active ingredient in Suboxone and its purpose is to help those with an opiate addiction wean off the drug by replacing it with this one instead. Unfortunately, because of the way this drug works on the brain, some people become addicted to it as well. You can tell if someone with an opioid addiction has recently started taking Suboxone because their moods will often jump from euphoria to irritability and depression or because they will relentlessly seek out drugs that could contain opiates as an ingredient.

When your friend or loved one is dealing with addiction to Suboxone and you want to support them, try to recognize that what they need right now is someone in their corner backing them up without enabling them. It can be hard when your loved one makes bad decisions. A trusted presence can help remind them of the consequences they may have previously ignored, while also reminding them that even if there is a problem, you still love and care about them. Throughout this challenging journey of Suboxone recovery it’s important to remember that communication is key to maintaining an open line of dialogue so your loved one knows how much you care and that you’re always open to provide an ear when needed!

The second thing that can be of huge help is if you encourage them to seek professional help through a medically supervised detox or outpatient program. It doesn’t matter how severe a person’s dependency on opioids may be, it’s important that they get real medical advice about getting clean without putting their safety at risk. NuView Treatment Center is an excellent evidence-based outpatient program for individuals in Southern California with an opioid use disorder.

How Is Suboxone Addiction Treated?

All prescription opioids, even relatively weaker ones like Suboxone, are extremely powerful and addictive. When a person has become dependent on this drug, they require intensive rehabilitation in an accredited facility. Treatment centers differ in the level of care they offer as well as their treatment approaches.

NuView Treatment Center offers a variety of outpatient treatment programs for those who are struggling with drug addiction and want to find recovery. As part of the outpatient-only program, clients live in their homes and stay focused on staying sober while not having to worry about uprooting their lives to stay in a residential facility. These types of programs allow clients to focus on their potential when it comes to their job or school, as well as living their day-to-day life without having to rely on drugs as a crutch.

When treating an opioid addiction, physical drug dependence must first be furst addressed. Given the extreme withdrawal effects that stem from high doses of opioids, quitting “cold turkey” without medical supervision may result in painful withdrawal symptoms and thus relapse is a common occurrence. Those at NuView Treatment Center who are advised to undergo a taper for their detox are put in touch with supervising physicians who help methodically reduce their dosage as painlessly as possible.

Addiction is a multi-faceted condition that requires more than just physical assistance to overcome. Obviously, drugs must be removed from the body and detox guidelines should be followed to ensure this happens. But the underlying issues of why one turned to abusing prescription drugs in the first place need to also be addressed for one’s recovery process to be complete and long lasting. Addressing their lifestyle, mental health, and relationships are all critical aspects of helping someone who wants to overcome an addiction to prescription opiates.

How Do Outpatient Programs Help Opioid Addicts?

Suboxone addiction, like other opioid addictions, is not easy to fight off on ones own. Many cultures stigmatize addiction to a considerable extent, spreading messages that people who abuse drugs like Suboxone simply need to exert more willpower. Addicts are told continually — and often tell themselves — that they are weak and need to be stronger.

Many people may be in denial about their own addictions as well. The mass media often depicts addiction in a stereotyped way, causing people to believe that unless they’ve lost everything, there’s no way they can be addicts. The reality is that addiction can affect anyone, the most destitute to the most affluent. It is also a very real condition that has nothing to do with personal character or strength of will. Just as a broken leg requires a cast and can’t be expected to merely heal on its own through sheer willpower, addiction requires outside help.

If you or a loved one suffers from Suboxone addiction, it is best to reach out to a Suboxone addiction treatment center. Outpatient addiction programs can provide individuals with the support they need during the difficult process of detoxing from Suboxone. By detoxing in a trigger-free environment under medical supervision, they can ensure that the process is smooth, safe, and healthy.

Further, outpatient addiction treatment programs offer individuals tools they need to stay sober over the long run. Addiction is not a condition that disappears as soon as a person is off drugs. Rather, the condition needs to be continually managed if long term sobriety is the goal. To that end, addiction treatment programs offer psychotherapy, group therapy, access to support groups, and skills-building workshops.

Every client at NuView Treatment Center has the help of a caseworker to put together a plan that is unique just for them. As part of the appointment, most clients engage in counseling and group therapy. Every counselor at NuView Treatment Center helps people deal with different conditions presented by their conditions, circumstances and overall mental state. The treatment plans vary in terms of the specific approaches they use, all of which are evidence-based and research-backed. Common approaches for helping people develop new strategies for dealing with opioid cravings include Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Methods. Other treatment approaches include:

  • Individual therapy
  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
  • Medication monitoring
  • Mindfulness, yoga, and meditation activities
  • Career and education planning
  • 12-step programs and 12-step alternatives
  • Drug education
  • Relapse prevention training
  • Urine tests to ensure abstinence
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy
  • Fitness and health education
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy

Complementary and Alternative Therapies

Treating addiction to opiates can be done by working with a team of professionals at NuView Treatment Center, an advanced facility designed to help you treat and manage your disorder. One of the key principles in effective addiction treatment is self-compassion: a willingness for healing by a group of individuals who understand what you are going through as someone living with an opiate addiction. In order to beat drug addiction, it makes sense to try out alternative methods that go beyond typical treatment programs and instead involve holistic healing strategies geared at offering lasting effects in how you feel after treatment has concluded.

These more holistic approaches include:

  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Nutritional programs
  • Fitness programs
  • Art therapy
  • Sound therapy

Taking opioid painkillers over the long term can actually change the way the brain is wired and lower a person’s ability to produce dopamine naturally. The above-mentioned therapies, when carried out in conjunction with therapy sessions and alternative treatments, can help heal and rewire the brain faster while activating endorphins and neurotransmitters – your body’s natural “feel good” hormones that help alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety and other stress-related medical conditions.

What Types of Outpatient Programs Are Offered for Opioid Addiction?

When making an appointment with a treatment center, it’s important to ask what levels of care the facility offers. Asking this will give you a better idea of the type of care that is available so that you can choose what level would be best for your own addiction issue. Addiction issues tend to vary in their presentation and can thereby cause varying effects on a person’s life. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to ask the facility how they would address those concerns at whichever level of care is right for you.

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)

Partial hospitalization programs offer the highest level of care for opioid addiction treatments because they’re medically supervised, with rigor and regularity. These programs allow individuals to begin rebuilding their lives after dealing with addiction. NuView’s partial hospitalization program is structured but supportive and meets multiple days a week for about half a day, so clients can enjoy the benefits of both medical support and psychiatric help together in an environment that lets them continue their everyday lives and live at home. This allows them to improve on family relationships, gain control over debts created from abuse of drugs such as prescription painkillers or street drugs like heroin, explore recovery options such as entering long-term residential rehab down the road if needed, and reestablishing self-worth through positive efforts like finding new hobbies or performing acts of kindness that helps others.

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

Our intensive outpatient program is structured so as to be very effective at reducing the impact of addiction in a client’s life. Clients come here several times a week for several hours at a time in order to relieve themselves of addiction symptoms and disease. These treatment programs are often suggested by doctors and therapists to people who have both mental and physical conditions that they need to deal with while trying to work though the withdrawal process associated with giving up vices such as alcohol or drugs. Typically clients attend group therapy sessions, cognitive behavioral therapy workshops, and healthy lifestyle building workshops throughout their treatment so that they may identify their triggers, develop coping skills for dealing with certain urges, and gain the positive support systems required during this dynamic period of change within their lives.

Evening Intensive Outpatient Program (Evening IOP)

At NuView, we offer a unique evening IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program) that offers the same high-quality clinical practices as our traditional IOP. That being said, our evening program offers participants the ability to attend recovery sessions when it suits them best and allows them time to put their own lives first during this highly stressful time—after work or school. Many people seeking treatment for Suboxone addiction have hectic schedules, requiring them to balance demanding careers and responsibility for their family’s health and wellbeing. Our evening IOP affords clients the chance to attend recovery sessions when it suits them best and allows them to prioritize their needs without sacrificing important elements of their lives during the recovery process.

Outpatient Program (OP)

Utilizing the concepts that make our more intensive rehab programs so effective, our outpatient program is the lowest level of care on the spectrum of services we offer here at NuView. It’s important to make sure you’re still taking part in a community encouraging self-sufficient behaviors that support your recovery from opioid addiction. We employ highly trained clinicians to help clients experiencing the challenges of life in early sobriety. Clients have the opportunity to get personalized hands-on attention for longer than one might find in a standard hospital or residential treatment center. Our clinicians are also happy to help remind clients if they miss an activity, appointment or other event that is part of their plan of treatment. This convenience allows you to receive the help and support that we feel is necessary during this crucial early stage of recovery.

How Can I Afford Suboxone Addiction Treatment?

Addiction is a very serious mental health disorder that affects millions around the world every day. It is very important to recognize it as a legitimate and recognized condition for which all healthcare insurance companies are required by law to offer coverage for the related treatments. Our team of caseworkers and addiction experts have developed relationships with most major insurance providers as well as many smaller health plans so that you can begin treatment promptly after you contact our team!

Finances, legal, and career obstacles often get in the way of an individual’s ability to get the treatment they need to live a life that is clean and sober — but there’s no reason a person shouldn’t have access to treatment if they need it. At NuView Treatment Center, we believe that no matter what your personal situation is, there are options available to help you move forward into the future with confidence and optimism.

When you come to us looking for help with treatment, whether it’s for alcohol addiction or Suboxone addiction, we will determine what kind of treatments are going to work best for your specific situation so you can have the most supportive transition possible into getting clean and staying sober. Above all, we make sure that your financial circumstances don’t impede you. We do this by calling your health insurance representative and figuring out the fine print of your healthcare plan – so you don’t have to.

How Does NuView Treatment Center Support Families?

Opioid addiction affects more than the person taking opioids, it impacts the people in their life. NuView Treatment Center recognizes that opioid addiction is a genetic disorder that is impacted by early childhood development as well. At NuView Treatment Center, we help addicts learn to control cravings and negative behaviors while they spend time at our facility learning how to live a sober lifestyle. But more than that – we aim to help their loved ones as well. Both the addict and their social circle should have an opportunity to reshape their lives in order to help everybody get better.

We welcome family members of addicts to participate in our weekly meetings and workshops. While the addict is going through addiction recovery, loved ones can use these events to learn how to help their addicted loved one and develop a support system for themselves which allows both to receive the treatment they need. We recognize that someone with an addiction can also be an incredibly caring, loving and driven person, who might just need some guidance and counseling to find the right path once more; that’s why during these weekly meetings we aim to educate addicts’ nearest and dearest so they are well-versed on the options available which allow them to step in when necessary.

Life After Suboxone Addiction in Los Angeles

If you’re accustomed to taking opioids, it is natural to assume that life involves these substances and has no meaning without them. At NuView Treatment Center’s outpatient treatment program, we want you to not only cure yourself of addictive medications but tackle this specific addiction with a support group so that once your withdrawal process has been completed, you’ll be used to the idea of living life happily without such drugs. Our staff wants you to know that you do not need medication in order to enjoy yourself and have fun, which is why we are here with the goal of helping you develop social skills and implement healthy habits!

We support clients by helping them in their social lives. We help them navigate different circumstances and learn new skills. At the end of the day, we want our clients to live happier, more productive lives that are full of fun and fulfillment. When clients are not using alcohol and drugs, they tend to be more productive at work, have healthier relationships with family, friends and their colleagues. It’s important for our clients to remember that people struggle with addictions for many reasons including genetic makeup; childhood trauma; feeling alienated from loved ones; peer pressure; self-medicating physical or mental illness, depression or anxiety. So get started on your recovery journey – there’s no reason why you can’t begin it successfully!

We’ve built a comprehensive alumni community that links current clients to past ones because studies show that having access to social support is as effective as other forms of treatment such as therapy and medication. All our graduates are encouraged to stay in touch and help each other long after their time at NuView Treatment Center has come to an end.

We facilitate strong networks for former clients and educate them about the opportunities available to help those who find themselves suffering currently from the dire consequences of a substance use disorder. It is challenging work, but someone has got to do it. And we want our graduates to be part of that process as they move on with their lives as sober individuals living full, happy lives doing what they love as they serve others. These relationships make sober living in Los Angeles fulfilling, prosperous, and joyous.

The effects of addiction are not limited to the period of taking drugs. Addictions are conditions that are best dealt with on a daily basis; they cannot be cured as such, but they can always be managed to keep you away from – or at least minimize the instances of – relapses. By developing new skills and relationships at NuView Treatment Center’s flexible outpatient programs, clients have the opportunity to walk down a new path.

Frequently Asked Questions

Suboxone can be prescribed by a physician on an outpatient basis or in the context of a medical detox center. The drug is generally used to help people detox from short-acting opioids, though it can also be used as part of an opioid replacement program on a long-term basis.

 

The need for effective medications to treat opioid dependence is clear. An opioid epidemic is currently devastating the United States and much of the world. Between 1999 and 2018, 450,000 people have died from opioid overdoses.

 

The opioid epidemic has seen three different waves. The first one began in the 1990s when pharmaceutical companies lobbied doctors to increase prescriptions of synthetic and semi-synthetic opioid analgesics. In 2010, with the rise of affordable and widely available black tar heroin, deaths increased.

 

Beginning in 2013, fentanyl and other high potency synthetic opioids began to be illicitly produced and distributed, often contaminating other drug products as well. The US Department of Health and Human Services estimates that more than 130 people die every day as a result of opioid overdoses.

 

In 2018 alone, approximately 2 million people in the United States were diagnosed with opioid use disorders. Without effective treatment programs in place that utilize drugs like Suboxone, these 2 million people are at risk of experiencing a life-threatening overdose.

 

Suboxone is often favored by doctors treating opioid addiction because the chemical composition of the medication makes it difficult to abuse. When naloxone and buprenorphine are combined in Suboxone, it is difficult to inject and therefore abuse the drug without sending oneself into immediate opioid withdrawal. Naloxone has a limited impact when taken sublingually, however, so the drug remains effective and naloxone does not interfere in the effects of buprenorphine when the drug is taken exactly as prescribed.

 

Due to its more limited potential for abuse, addiction treatment centers and medical professionals generally prefer the combination drug Suboxone over buprenorphine by itself. Nonetheless, the drug is not without its risks. Over the years, enterprising drug addicts have continued to devise ways to abuse the drug.

Suboxone is generally prescribed as part of a medication-assisted treatment (MAT) plan to treat opioid addiction. When a person takes the drug, it reduces withdrawal symptoms for a period of approximately 24 hours. It mitigates cravings and eliminates some of the more physically and mentally arduous side effects of opioid withdrawal.

 

However, it should be stressed here that the drug does not cure opioid addiction. Rather, it is prescribed as merely one component of a more comprehensive addiction treatment plan.

 

Medication-assisted treatment utilizes the drug to help individuals become more responsive and available for other treatment modalities, which generally include psychotherapy and support groups. It is important to take it only under careful medical supervision in the context of a comprehensive treatment plan. This generally entails enrolling in a medical detox center, inpatient program, or outpatient treatment center. It may come as a surprise that the two drugs contained in Suboxone, despite being used to treat opioid use disorder, are in fact opioids themselves. Buprenorphine and naloxone, despite being opioids, affect opioid receptors differently than the more commonly abused recreational opioids. By reducing the effects of recreational opioids, buprenorphine and naloxone can be used to treat addiction.

 

Nonetheless, when misused or abused buprenorphine can be used to get high. The combination of buprenorphine and naloxone, however, is generally believed to have a lower potential for abuse and buprenorphine alone. While it is more difficult to abuse, people suffering from addiction are often motivated to devise inventive and creative ways of abusing drugs — and methods do exist for abusing Suboxone.

In the 1940s, methadone was introduced to the United States as a way of treating pain from severe injuries on the battlefield. It was quickly discovered, however, that methadone could be used to effectively treat people going through opioid withdrawal. By replacing recreational opioids with methadone, people trying to end their opioid dependence could gradually reduce their dosages without experiencing the severe side effects that generally accompany withdrawal. This treatment became known as opioid replacement therapy, and methadone remained the primary drug used for this treatment for many years.

 

It would be many years before Suboxone emerged as a major competitor to methadone. The two components of the drug were developed independently and used successfully to treat opioid use disorder before they were combined into one medication.

 

The first component of Suboxone, naloxone, was initially patented in 1961. Naloxone was a revolutionary new drug. Researchers discovered that taking it could reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, thereby saving lives.

 

In 1971, it was approved in the United States for treating opioid addiction and overdoses. In the 1990s, when heroin and other recreational opioids began to take more lives, public health officials worked to make naloxone more widely available.

 

15 states initiated pilot programs that distributed opioid abuse kits containing naloxone to medically untrained people. The idea was that if naloxone could be administered quickly and easily in non-hospital settings, overdoses could be prevented. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that between 1996 and 2014, more than 26,000 potentially fatal overdoses were prevented by these naloxone kits.

 

Buprenorphine, on the other hand, wasn’t originally designed to be used in opioid replacement therapy. The process of developing buprenorphine began in 1969, when researchers at British company Reckitt and Colman began working to synthesize a new opioid that would retain the positive pain-reduction effects of opioids without negative side effects or a high potential for abuse.

 

After ten years, testing on animals demonstrated that they had successfully developed a new opioid that did not lead to the same levels of dependence as others. In 1978, buprenorphine became available in the United Kingdom. It was administered by injection and used to treat severe pain. The success of the drug soon led to the release of a sublingual formulation in 1982.

 

In the United States, however, buprenorphine was not available by prescription until 2002. In the years leading up to the drug’s approval in the United States, the pharmaceutical company that developed buprenorphine, Reckitt and Colman, lobbied Congress to pass the Drug Addiction Treatment Act (DATA), which made it legal for physicians to prescribe narcotics for the purpose of opioid detox.

 

Up until the passing of the Drug Addiction Treatment Act, Schedule III, IV, and V narcotics could not be prescribed by physicians except in specifically licensed inpatient drug addiction clinics. The passing of DATA paved the way for buprenorphine’s use in outpatient settings.

 

Soon after the act was passed, the Drug Enforcement Agency reclassified buprenorphine from a Schedule V drug to a Schedule III drug, thereby increasing the regulation surrounding it. Nonetheless, in 2002 the Food and Drug Administration approved buprenorphine for treating opioid use disorders.

 

The combination of naloxone and buprenorphine in the form of Suboxone was approved by the FDA in 2002. The drug was designed to limit the abuse potential for buprenorphine. While buprenorphine is difficult to abuse when taken as prescribed, recreational drug users who misuse buprenorphine by injecting it are able to get high. Injecting naloxone, however, not only prevents overdose, it reverses the effects of the opioid high and sends people into withdrawal.

Suboxone is developed in laboratories by pharmaceutical companies. Naloxone, a synthetic derivative of oxymorphone, works to antagonize opioids. Buprenorphine, however, is a semi-synthetic opioid derived from thebaine, an alkaloid of the poppy Papaver somniferum.

 

Buprenorphine is an opioid partial agonist. The two drugs are synthesized independently before scientists combine them in a lab. Suboxone and its generic formulations are available in two different forms that are both designed to be dissolved sublingually.

 

The suboxone film is designed to be dissolved under the tongue or against the cheek. The tablet, which is also dissolved sublingually, is still available in some areas but has been discontinued, due to the ease with which children can accidentally ingest it. Unlike many opioids, this drug is rarely produced in illicit labs. While there is a thriving blacket market demand for it, the illegal distribution of Suboxone mainly consists of people reselling their prescriptions.

 

While the drug can be abused, it is generally not the preferred drug of abuse for people addicted to opioids. As such, illegal drug distributors and cartels rarely produce it themselves, though they have been known to engage in operations that make prescription formulations available to recreational users.

When taken as prescribed, it is generally referred to by its official brand name. Other common brand names for the product include Bunavail and Zubsolv. However, while the combination of buprenorphine and naloxone is also available in generic formulations, the drug is still sometimes referred to as Suboxone, due to the recognizability of the brand name.

 

When taken for recreational purposes or distributed by drug dealers, it often goes by other names. This is because illicit distributors aim to avoid detection by law enforcement authorities, and code words for the drug can make it more difficult for law enforcement agencies to track.

 

Youth drug culture also has its own ever-changing vocabulary for drugs and drug abuse.

 

Some of the more common names for Suboxone used in the context of drug abuse include:

 

  • Buse
  • Big Whites
  • Oranges
  • Sobos
  • Small Whites
  • Strips
  • Stops
  • Sub
  • Subs
  • Stop Signs
  • Boxes
  • Bupes

Buprenorphine is uniquely effective as a drug for treating opioid dependence. A study conducted in Sweden demonstrated buprenorphine’s usefulness in addiction treatment. In the study, some patients were given buprenorphine and others were given buprenorphine for a short period followed by a placebo.

 

The treatment failure rate for the patients given placebos was 100%, whereas only 25% of the patients who were given buprenorphine dropped out during the duration of the study.

 

Further analysis showed that patients who are given buprenorphine are 1.82 times more likely to stay in addiction treatment compared to placebo-receiving patients. Patients receiving buprenorphine were also 14.2% less likely to test positive on opioid tests. Most importantly, those who drop out of addiction treatment programs due to lack of buprenorphine access had a 20% mortality rate. These statistics demonstrate that buprenorphine can save lives.

 

A study conducted by the medical research company Cochrane found that the combination drug Suboxone is as effective as methadone when it comes to treating opioid dependence. The study showed that self-reported heroin use and positive opioid drug tests decreased to similar extents among patients on methadone and patients on Suboxone.

 

However, while the two drugs have similar efficacy, Suboxone is uniquely useful because it can be prescribed by physicians on an outpatient basis, unlike methadone which can only legally be prescribed in licensed inpatient addiction treatment centers. The drug is also significantly less dangerous than methadone due to its lower abuse potential. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 3 prescription opioid overdoses is due to methadone abuse. While methadone can indeed save lives when used properly, it takes an estimated 5000 lives every year. Taking Suboxone has a 90% lower mortality rate than taking methadone.

It is important to emphasize that Suboxone alone does not cure opioid addiction. When doctors prescribe the drug, they do so in the context of a medication-assisted treatment (MAT) plan that includes other treatment elements, including psychotherapy, group therapy, and support groups. While it can be used to escape from opioid dependence, opioid addiction is generally far more complicated.

 

When opioid dependence is treated without addressing the underlying reasons that drove people to become addicts in the first place, relapse is highly likely. Nonetheless, reducing withdrawal symptoms by taking Suboxone can make it easier for patients to engage in other therapeutic modalities, such as psychotherapy. As such, Suboxone should be understood first and foremost as a tool for helping patients become more receptive to treatment more generally.

During the initial phase of Suboxone treatment, patients withdraw from their recreational opioid(s) of choice. During this phase, they may experience painful symptoms of opioid withdrawal, but these symptoms are mitigated by the effects of the drug. It helps in particular with reducing cravings, which can help increase the likelihood that a person will remain in treatment long enough to achieve recovery.

 

After the withdrawal phase, physicians generally move patients to a maintenance phase. This entails staying on a steady dose of the drug until a patient has achieved some degree of stability.

 

The maintenance phase can have variable lengths, depending upon the severity of the addiction and the individual needs of the patient. Most people stay in the maintenance phase until their addiction treatment program has been completed, though people can safely remain on Suboxone under careful supervision for years.

 

When physicians and addiction treatment professionals deem it safe, they will generally guide a patient along the process of reducing their dosage. This process, known as tapering, is conducted gradually to prevent the return of excruciating suboxone withdrawal symptoms. At the end of the tapering phase, however, patients emerge entirely opioid-free.

Suboxone does not offer the same sedating and euphoric effects of commonly abused recreational opioids. It is for that reason that it is effectively utilized as a medication for treating opioid dependence. Because it is difficult to get high from taking Suboxone, it is rarely sought after as a recreational drug.

 

Nonetheless, a thriving black market for Suboxone does in fact exist. Law enforcement officials regularly confiscate doses of Suboxone that are being sold on the streets. When people buy illegal Suboxone, they are generally doing so not to get high, but to achieve relief from painful symptoms of opioid withdrawal. They are seeking relief through self-medication.

 

Unfortunately, self-medicating using illegal Suboxone is dangerous and potentially life-threatening. When people abuse Suboxone, they generally take it whenever withdrawal feelings are overwhelming. Using Suboxone impulsively without medical supervision or guidance can result in dangerous dosing practices.

 

It is important to remember that even though Suboxone can be a helpful medication, it is still an opioid — and therefore dangerous. Failing to follow the directions of a prescription can lead to a potentially life-threatening overdose.

There are some people who try to get high off of Suboxone. The most common method people use is altering the medication to make it suitable for injection. While it is possible to inject Suboxone, the naloxone component becomes far more psychoactive when the medication is injected. Injecting naloxone will not result in the high that recreational users seek. In fact, the opposite is true.

 

The primary effect of naloxone is reversing an opioid high and sending a person into immediate withdrawal. Abusing Suboxone in this case is likely to result in excruciating mental and physical symptoms. Unsupervised and abrupt opioid withdrawal can in fact be dangerous, especially for people who suffer from other comorbid health conditions.

Suboxone is an opioid, and all opioid drugs – from illegal street opiates to legal prescription drugs – are addictive. Opioids are addictive because of the direct effect they have on opioid receptors in the brain and throughout the body. When opioids activate opioid receptors, the brain releases high quantities of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine is sometimes known as the “reward chemical,” because it makes people feel good and plays an essential role in areas of the brain that control motivation and decision-making. Dopamine is responsible for the high that opioid addicts experience when they abuse drugs. It is also responsible for reinforcing the behavior of drug abuse itself.

 

When large amounts of dopamine are released, a person is more likely to repeat the behavior that led to the release. For non-addicts, playing sports or having sex can cause a release of dopamine. However, drug abuse, especially opioid abuse, leads to astronomically high dopamine levels, which can permanently alter the brain’s ability to say no to drugs.

 

As patterns of opioid abuse set in, the brain adapts to opioids by creating more opioid receptors and becoming desensitized to the effects. If a recreational drug user wishes to get high, they must take larger and larger quantities of opioids.

 

At the same time, when the body acclimates to the presence of opioids, it begins to react violently when opioids are depleted. This reaction, known as withdrawal, is both physically and mentally painful, and most people will stop at nothing to avoid experiencing it.

 

When people reach the point where desensitization and tolerance require them to take high doses and withdrawal causes them to avoid quitting, they have become physically dependent. Not everyone who is physically dependent suffers from addiction, but when people find themselves unable to stop taking opioids despite negative consequences and a desire to quit, they can be said to suffer from a substance use disorder.

 

Suboxone, despite not offering the same intoxicating euphoria as other opioids, is addictive precisely because of the relief it offers. People withdrawing from opioids might be tempted to abuse Suboxone due to fears they may have about withdrawal symptoms. Even people in addiction treatment programs and taking Suboxone as prescribed may be reluctant to wean off the drug and experience sobriety without the crutch of medication. Suboxone addiction is relatively rare, since most people trying to get high turn to other opioids, but many people do get trapped in a cycle of “quitting” recreational opioids but never quite weaning off Suboxone.

Individuals who inject Suboxone are likely to go into immediate withdrawal due to the naloxone content. However, withdrawal is also a natural part of the weaning off process when people use the drug as part of a supervised medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program.

 

However, without proper supervision from a physician, the Suboxone withdrawal process can pose numerous health complications. The anguish associated with withdrawal can also lead people to relapse and turn to other opioids, which can result in overdose.

 

Withdrawal is therefore not only an arduous process, it is potentially fatal.

 

Symptoms of Suboxone withdrawal include but are not limited to:

 

  • Gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Cold flashes and goosebumps
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle spasms and uncontrollable leg movements
  • Sweating
  • Runny nose
  • Constricted pupils
  • Tremors
  • Sleep problems, ranging from insomnia to oversleeping
  • Agitation
  • Fluctuating blood pressure
  • Severe cravings

Most of the symptoms of Suboxone withdrawal begin within 24 hours of quitting Suboxone and gradually wane after several weeks. Ironically, many of these symptoms are the very symptoms that Suboxone therapy is designed to treat. However, rapid and unplanned withdrawal from Suboxone results in these same symptoms.

 

By taking Suboxone as prescribed and weaning off slowly under careful medical supervision, the severity of Suboxone withdrawal symptoms can be significantly reduced. This is also the best way to ensure that sobriety is maintained in the long run — and that one will never have to experience opioid withdrawal again.

Suboxone abuse can come in two forms. When people abuse Suboxone in order to obtain relief from the symptoms of opioid withdrawal, they may take too much or take it too frequently. However, when people inject Suboxone with the aim of getting high, they may go into immediate withdrawal due to the naloxone content. These two forms of abuse have dramatically different symptoms.

 

Abusing or misusing Suboxone at incorrect dosages can present a range of side effects that are common to many opioids. These side effects of Suboxone abuse include:

 

  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Fever
  • Muscle pain
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Nausea

While most of these symptoms are not life-threatening, taking high doses of Suboxone can result in an opioid overdose. When opioid overdoses lead to central nervous system depression, they can be fatal.

When Suboxone is used in combination with other drugs, such as other opioids, alcohol, or benzodiazepines, the risk of a fatal overdose increases exponentially. Signs and side effects of Suboxone overdose include:

 

  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Chills
  • Constricted pupils
  • Loss of coordination
  • Gastrointestinal distress, including vomiting, nausea, and stomach pain
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Heavy sweating
  • Slurred speech

Suboxone can be abused by people holding prescriptions and by people who buy it illicitly as well. However, the individuals most likely to abuse and become addicted to Suboxone are people who suffer from substance use disorders. These individuals may not have access to other opioids.

 

As a result, they may try to abuse Suboxone to achieve relief from the symptoms of withdrawal. There are many side effects of Suboxone abuse. Individuals who suffer from addiction often understand the dangers of Suboxone abuse but are unable to control their behavior without outside help. Factors that make a person more likely to suffer from a substance use disorder include:

 

  • A history of addiction in the family. Individuals whose parents abused illicit drugs have a 45% to to 79% increased risk of developing substance use disorders themselves. Addiction has a genetic component, but early exposure through the examples of family members can further entrench a person in addiction. The behavior of addicted family members can also lead to a traumatic and unpredictable upbringing, which can drive people to illicit substances as a way of achieving temporary relief and calm.
  • Trauma. Suffering from trauma, especially during early childhood, is correlated with higher rates of substance use disorder. Individuals who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are particularly vulnerable.
  • Mental health conditions. Aside from PTSD, other mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia increase the likelihood that a person will abuse drugs and develop a dependence on them. This is because substance abuse for many people begins as a form of self-medication. Illicit drugs like opioids can provide relief for many of the symptoms of mental illness, though drug abuse tends to worsen these symptoms over time.
  • Chronic pain. The majority of opioid addictions actually begin when a person is prescribed opioids to treat legitimate problems. Individuals who suffer from chronic or severe pain are the most likely to be prescribed opioids. Some people misuse or abuse the medications, but even those who use them as prescribed are at a high risk of developing a dependence. Over time, many turn to heroin or to higher potency synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl.
  • Poverty and lack of resources. Suffering from poverty, especially early on in life, is highly correlated with increased substance abuse patterns. Individuals who suffer from poverty are also less likely to have access to proper addiction treatment facilities and resource centers.
  • Limited social support system. Individuals with smaller friend groups and social support systems are more likely to turn to drug abuse. Having a stronger social support system also improves addiction treatment outcomes. Unfortunately, drug addiction tends to drive people into further isolation, which results in a vicious cycle that exacerbates drug addiction.

While the above factors make it more likely that a person will suffer from addiction, many people with substance use disorders use Suboxone as prescribed to treat their addiction. Ultimately, the most important factor that determines whether a person will use Suboxone as prescribed is their level of involvement in a treatment program. Having access to addiction professionals, medical supervision, and a strong sober social support system is the best way to ensure that Suboxone is used effectively. More importantly, it is the most effective way of getting sober and maintaining sobriety.

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