The answer to “Is heroin a stimulant?” simply put, is no. Heroin is a depressant that slows down processes of the body controlled by the central nervous system. Heroin directly affects brain function and breathing to the point of slowing down or stopping both.
Body temperature and blood pressure can drop, as well. Under heroin, your heartbeat can also become irregular. Heroin use can even lead to a loss of consciousness or even lapse into a coma. Heroin is a dangerous drug that is highly addictive and poses severe short-term and long-term effects.
The impact heroin has on the individual is dependent upon:
Heroin is an illegal, extremely addictive drug processed from morphine, which is a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seed pod of certain varieties of poppy plants. It is generally sold as a white or brownish powder that is “cut” with sugars, starch, powdered milk, or quinine. Pure heroin is a white powder with a bitter taste that predominantly originated in South America and, to a lesser extent, from Southeast Asia, and has taken over the U.S. markets.
In other words, heroin is a potent opiate that severely affects the brain’s reward system.
Heroin rigs this reward system by influencing the production of feel-good chemicals in the brain, such as dopamine and endorphins.
Most addictive drugs can be put into one of two classes: stimulants and depressants. The most important differences between the two can be noted in their two names. Stimulants stimulate the central nervous system. On the other hand, depressants do the opposite, slowing it and all the parts of the body that are controlled by the central nervous system.
There are many other differences between the two as well. Due to the nationwide drug epidemic, it’s crucial to educate yourself on this topic. Understanding the effects of each type of drug will enable you to recognize the signs of abuse, addiction, and overdose. Stimulants and depressants claim many lives every year due to overdose and other health problems related to long-term abuse.
The most commonly used and abused stimulants include:
Common depressants with abuse potential include:
Addiction is a serious disease. Being addicted to a stimulant by the name of heroin can have fatal consequences. It strips joy away from the addict’s life and it affects those around them as well.
The exact effect of heroin on a person’s health will depend on several factors, including the person’s existing health status, stature, weight, and sex. Other aspects that must be factored in are the volume of drug intake, method of drug intake, length of abuse, simultaneous use of alcohol or other drugs, and whether there is an underlying psychiatric condition. Our trained addiction specialists will help evaluate each patient’s unique circumstances.
It’s important to know that even short-term heroin use causes serious health effects. There’s a serious risk in using the stimulant heroin. Whether it’s short-term or long-term use, it is highly dangerous nonetheless.
After heroin use, a person will generally experience short-term health-related effects, such as:
The continued use of heroin leads to physical dependence. Physical dependence is a dangerous effect after long-term exposure. Physical dependence is the body’s response to the drug’s ongoing presence.
Tolerance and withdrawal are two of the main signs that signal your body has become physically dependent on heroin. Over time, a person will need more of the same drug to achieve the desired effects.
After using heroin for a substantial amount of time, there will be changes in the physical structure and physiology of the brain. Consequently, this creates long-term imbalances in neuronal and hormonal systems that are not easily reversed. Studies have shown some deterioration of the brain’s white matter due to heroin use. This may affect decision-making abilities, the ability to regulate behavior, and responses to stressful situations.
Another severe long-term effect of heroin comes from the sharing of needles that many addicts partake in. This leads to AIDS and other contagious infections. Approximately, 35,000 new hepatitis C2 (liver disease) infections each year in the United States, over 70% are from drug users who use needles.
There are many other long-term impacts that heroin use has. Some of the many long-term effects include:
The statistics of heroin use in America reveal a terrifying truth. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), in 2016, about 948,000 Americans reported using heroin in the past year, a number that has been on the rise since 2007. This trend appears to be driven largely by young adults aged 18–25 among whom there have been the greatest increases.
The number of people using heroin for the first time is also high. 170,000 people starting heroin use in 2016, nearly double the number of people in 2006 (90,000). To make matters worse, over 15,000 people died from drug overdoses involving heroin in the United States, a rate of almost 5 deaths for every 100,000 Americans, in 2017.
We must help those that are addicted to heroin. Heroin is a dangerous stimulant that is claiming thousands of lives throughout the country.
Heroin is addictive due to its euphoric effects. Although these may seem enticing at first, they subside quickly. People may also start using heroin to avoid withdrawal symptoms. This becomes a toxic cycle of heroin use and addiction.
Fortunately, there is treatment available. No matter how lost you may feel, you can choose to seek help and get better. On the other side of pain is growth. Rehab offers addicts a second chance.
Treatment is broken apart into stages. Detox is typically the first step of treatment. Detox is the process of ridding your body of toxins accumulated through substance abuse. After detox, the treatment plan will start. Different components make up a quality treatment plan.
These components include:
There are a variety of different routes a patient can choose to take. The most popular ones include inpatient treatment, partial hospitalization, and outpatient treatment. Keep reading to learn more about the programs and how they can help you or a loved one.
A common and popular option is an outpatient rehab program. Outpatient rehabilitation is considered less intense treatment. With this approach, you’ll have scheduled days and times for treatment at the center. After treatment, you’re able to go back home. This treatment works best for those with less severe addictions or those with serious obligations.
After completing an inpatient treatment program, many patients transition into a day/night treatment program. This is also referred to as a partial hospitalization program (PHP). This type of treatment program offers on-site counseling, support groups, and educational lectures.
However, the difference is that patients do not live at our facility. Instead, they travel to our facility on their assigned hours and days. Typically, patients are expected to commit to anywhere from 4 to 8 hours of therapy each day.
Patients with more complex needs, such as those with a co-occurring disorder, may be best suited for an intensive outpatient program (IOP) or a partial hospitalization program (PHP). In an IOP, patients receive treatment for nine to 20 hours per week. They also consistently meet with physicians, psychiatrists, and therapists.
Many intensive outpatient programs are provided for short periods during the day or on evenings and weekends. If you have outside obligations you must attend to, and IOP may suit your needs best.
Residential treatment programs offer the highest level of care possible. Patients receive 24/7 medical attention and supervision. They can receive help whenever they need it. With an inpatient program, patients will move to the rehab facility anywhere from 30 to 90 days.
Twenty-eight days is usually considered to be the standard. Ninety days is considered long-term care. Patients in inpatient programs receive quite a lot of different therapies. They receive addiction treatment from morning tonight. A residential inpatient program allows patients to fully focus on their recovery and nothing else.
At Coastal Detox, we offer a variety of amenities and services to ensure your safety and comfort. Heroin is a dangerous stimulant that has detrimental short-term and long-term effects. That’s why it’s crucial to treat the addiction from the inside out.
Our trained medical staff will attend to your needs and help give you the tools for a long-lasting and heroin-free life. With the right support and treatment, you’ll set forward on the road to recovery. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to give us a call. You can contact us here or call us to begin your recovery journey today.
You may have heard of Suboxone but don’t really know much about it. You may know it’s used in the treatment of opioid addiction. This is true, although the narcotic component of Suboxone, buprenorphine, is also sometimes used purely in the treatment of pain. If you’re a spouse whose husband has developed an addiction to opioids, you may wonder how long your husband will need to see a Suboxone doctor during addiction treatment. Generally, Suboxone patients will need to see their doctors once a month. However, this may vary by the policies of the doctor and the state you live in.
Suboxone is a combination prescription drug composed of a synthetic opioid, buprenorphine, and naloxone, which is a drug used to reverse opioid overdose. The naloxone is commonly known as Narcan. It’s present in the Suboxone to discourage abuse. When taken by mouth as directed, the form and amount of naloxone will have little to no effect. However, if it’s injected, it will prevent any euphoria from occurring. It will also probably cause severe withdrawal symptoms as well.
Suboxone works by attaching to the same receptors in the brain that other opioids do. However, it’s not a full narcotic. Its effect on the receptors is limited, although it binds strongly and prevents any other opioids from working while the buprenorphine is there. It’s very long-lasting. A single daily dose is plenty to relieve drug cravings and hold withdrawal symptoms at bay. Suboxone has been called a miracle drug. It has helped many people to regain their sobriety long-term. However, it’s hardly a miracle. In fact, it has some significant limitations:
Suboxone is an opioid and will produce the same withdrawal syndrome as any other opioid if suddenly stopped. These symptoms tend to last longer than those of short-acting opioids, such as oxycodone. Many people find that getting off of this drug is very, very difficult, even if the dose is tapered downward first. This isn’t a problem for a patient who desires to continue therapy, but anyone who would like to quit will face at least some degree of discomfort from withdrawal symptoms from buprenorphine. Patients who remain compliant with the terms of their treatment plan may stay on the drug as long as they like. However, sometimes people want to stop. Other times, it may be a financial issue, such as the loss of medical insurance. Before beginning therapy, it’s important for the patient to understand that this drug is addictive. It’s not necessarily a reason to decline Suboxone therapy, but rather a part of the informed consent process.
Suboxone, by state law, cannot be prescribed by a doctor unless he or she has completed a special training program and is licensed to prescribe the drug. There are a limited number of these doctors, and each doctor can only have a certain amount of Suboxone patients at a time. Depending upon where you live, there may or may not be a Suboxone doctor near you. They may or may not be accepting new patients. You can see how access to Suboxone therapy may be a problem in some cases. However, once you find a doctor and have a prescription, there are no limitations as to where you can fill it. You will usually get a month’s supply at a time. You may fill it at any pharmacy that has it.
Because of the different way that buprenorphine works on opioid brain receptors, the currently addicted patient must be in a state of significant withdrawal before the drug can be started. This means that the patient must first endure two to three days of misery before they can get relief. This is asking a lot. The first dose is given in the doctor’s office under supervision. This is called induction. This is how the doctor determines the correct dose for each patient. More buprenorphine is added until the patient is comfortable. This dose is highly variable. Everyone is different. Patients currently clean of opioids who are worried about an imminent relapse may begin Suboxone at any time. No waiting period is necessary.
Buprenorphine doesn’t help everyone who tries it. Like any drug, it won’t work for everyone. Some people just don’t respond well to it. Others have addictions that are too high-level for the drug to handle. If this happens, methadone is a good option. Methadone is a full narcotic that will relieve opioid withdrawal symptoms reliably.
With the possible exception of the induction period, your husband will likely need to see his Suboxone doctor only once a month for his month’s supply of medication. If there are any problems, he may need to see the doctor more often. It’s critical that all patients follow the doctor’s instructions exactly. Expect urine testing. Some doctors may also require that the patient attend counseling. This will all be detailed in the medication contract between your husband and the doctor. Many Suboxone doctors have a zero tolerance policy for any kind of non-compliance. One dirty urine test, such as one for the presence of other opioids not known to the doctor, can be enough to be expelled from the program. It will not be so easy to find another doctor, either.
Suboxone therapy is serious business. If drug cravings occur, or if withdrawal symptoms are not relieved, your husband needs to tell the doctor immediately. The dose can be increased to as much as 32 milligrams per day in most states. If Suboxone therapy isn’t working, it’s best to just be honest with the doctor. There is always methadone therapy when Suboxone fails.
If you’re trying to find a quality rehab facility for your husband, you can call us for help. We can also help you find Suboxone clinics. We are professional addiction counselors, and we know how to best help you find the right treatment for your spouse. Just call us at 877-978-3125. We are available 24 hours a day. We help people every day, and we can help you.
If you or a loved one is addicted to heroin, you may feel like you don’t know where to turn. Many people become addicted to heroin to deal with chronic pain, or they’re trying to self-medicate a mental illness. No matter the reason for usage, heroin is a very dangerous and highly addictive substance. The idea of quitting might seem overwhelming, especially if you’re not sure what to expect. What are the steps to a heroin treatment program?
Heroin treatment will generally follow three main stages: detox, inpatient treatment, and outpatient treatment. The duration of these stages and the steps involved will vary depending on your circumstances. This is an overview of the basics of what to expect.
To understand the stages of heroin addiction treatment, it’s important to understand how recovery from addiction works. To have a successful recovery, people must manage the following:
You’ll generally address these criteria in three stages. The first is detox, which is when you’ll go through the detoxification and withdrawal process. A medically monitored detox can help manage withdrawal symptoms and reduce pain. The next is inpatient treatment. Most heroin addicts need inpatient treatment for a successful recovery; that said, sometimes people can’t afford to do an inpatient program. In these cases, outpatient treatment would be the next step. Outpatient treatment is also the next step after a heroin addict completes an inpatient rehab program.
Addiction is a lifelong disease that will require consistent maintenance. However, both the physical and mental symptoms will subside the longer you go without relapsing.
Detox is the first step. You need to rid your body of the heroin, which means going through the withdrawal process. Heroin withdrawal can be very painful, but medical detox involves methods that can help.
Professional treatment centers are the best place to go through a heroin detox. Hospitals are capable of medical monitoring, but they may not provide the same mental health services a patient needs. Many detox centers are attached to rehabilitation facilities, so you can go from detoxing to inpatient care without needing to change addresses. That said, detox is handled differently from rehab.
Detox refers to the medical aspect of withdrawal. As such, detox programs tend to last for only a few days, while inpatient rehab often lasts for several months. The longest detox programs tend to be about two weeks long. They involve consistent medical monitoring of your withdrawal symptoms to ensure your withdrawal is as safe and painless as possible.
There are a number of medications that patients may be prescribed during a heroin detox. Some of the common ones include:
After you’ve detoxed from the heroin, you need to deal with the mental aspect of addiction. The best way to do this is in an inpatient rehab facility. Inpatient rehab programs provide stable, controlled environments with constant access to medical professionals and mental health services. These are the best places to explore and treat your mental health.
Rehab programs typically last at least 30 days, but many will last between 3 and 6 months. Residential programs may last even longer. The best program for you will vary depending on your environmental circumstances, the strength of your addiction, and the mental health treatment you need.
This is labeled as step 2.5 because it’s a potential alternative to inpatient care. Experts highly recommend inpatient care for heroin addiction, as it’s a serious substance use disorder that has a high chance of relapse. For people who can’t afford the cost of inpatient rehab, an intensive outpatient program (IOP) is an option. Intensive outpatient programs will often require you to take time off work, but if you can’t afford that, you may be able to tailor your program around your schedule.
An intensive outpatient program will address the same mental health factors that you’ll cover in an inpatient rehab program. You’ll receive counseling and therapy, explore healthier coping methods, and get to the root of your addiction. You may also have access to family therapy services for your loved ones. Unlike inpatient care, however, you’ll live and sleep at home. Most IOPs involve four to eight hours of therapy per day.
Intensive outpatient care tends to be much cheaper than inpatient rehab. There are some inherent risks, though. If environmental triggers are a big part of your addiction, you might have a higher likelihood of relapse while in treatment. Relapse potential is also higher since it’s easier to get illicit substances outside a rehabilitation facility.
After completing inpatient treatment, outpatient services are used to maintain the patient’s mental and physical health. Typically, these will involve individual addiction counseling, meetings with psychiatrists for mental health medication, and regular physician appointments for any physical health conditions. Ongoing family therapy is also highly recommended.
Both secular and non-secular support groups are available in nearly every community. You can also find support groups online. Experts recommend that addicts attend support groups to connect with people going through the same issues. Peer support greatly reduces the chances of relapse.
If you’re ready to talk to someone about your addiction, we have trained counselors available 24/7. Call 877-978-3125 today.
If you’re addicted to heroin, you have probably thought about getting professional help. You may be feeling very alone. However, heroin addiction occurs in all walks of life. It’s not a character flaw. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. Addiction to heroin is best handled by addiction medicine specialists. You will find these professionals in any quality substance abuse treatment center. This article will help you to learn about medical detox for heroin addiction. It’s important to educate yourself as much as you can. This is true whether the addiction concerns you or someone close to you. There is always hope.
Heroin is an opium derivative. It can be snorted, smoked, swallowed or injected. Many heroin addicts prefer to inject the drug directly into a vein. This method uses the smallest amount of product while delivering the rush, or intense feeling of euphoria, that users seek most of all.
Injection is dangerous because street heroin is produced in illicit, makeshift laboratories. Little attention is paid to quality control or sanitary precautions. This means that the finished product is not medically suitable for injection. It may contain bacteria that can cause endocarditis, which is an infection of one or more of the heart’s four valves. These valves are involved in sending vital oxygen-carrying blood to all parts of your body. Damaged heart valves can result in debilitating illness and death.
Street heroin may also be contaminated with toxins. It’s often cut with fentanyl by greedy dealers. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid at least 30 times stronger than heroin. It’s not uncommon for heroin users to overdose and die from the inadvertent intake of fentanyl.
Addiction to heroin will result in a withdrawal syndrome if the drug is suddenly stopped. Withdrawal is painful and extremely unpleasant. In fact, addicts who have experienced it will universally avoid it at all costs. It’s a main reason why many people remain addicted. The prospect of withdrawal is enough to instill terror in the bravest person.
Symptoms generally start with anxiety and then build up from there over time. Withdrawal symptoms include:
Symptoms may persist for anywhere from 10 days to several weeks or more, depending upon the individual, the dosage, the route of administration, the frequency of use and the overall length of time the drug was used.
If you have experienced heroin withdrawal yourself, you probably have an intense fear of it. You need to know that you shouldn’t let this fear stop you from going to substance abuse treatment. Medical detox uses medications that will keep you comfortable as your body withdraws from the heroin. Some common medications include the following:
Medication protocols, just like treatment plans, are highly individualized. Everyone is different. If you’re not getting sufficient withdrawal relief, speak up. Your medications can be adjusted. During heroin detox, you should not be in any kind of significant pain. You should be able to eat and drink fairly normally. You should be able to sleep, although you cannot yet expect the normal sleep patterns you once had before you became addicted. It will take time for your brain to heal and restore its correct balance of neurotransmitters. Brain chemistry cannot normalize itself overnight.
People with drug addictions are more likely to have a concurrent form of mental disorder, such as depression, than the general population. A quality substance abuse treatment center will screen you for a possible dual diagnosis during your comprehensive intake interview. If a mental disorder is suspected, you may receive special medications to treat your condition. This is very helpful. A client with an untreated mental condition will find it much harder to cope with and overcome their addiction than someone who doesn’t have a mental disorder issue. In fact, their condition may well have contributed to their addiction in the first place.
Buprenorphine, also known as Suboxone, is a partial narcotic medication that quells withdrawal symptoms by attaching to the brain’s opioid receptors just enough to produce relief. It curbs drug cravings, too. It works very well for some people but not so well for others.
Methadone is a full narcotic that also attaches to the brain’s opioid receptors. However, it does this more efficiently than buprenorphine does. Methadone will reliably stop opioid withdrawal symptoms in just about everyone, including those not helped by buprenorphine. Methadone is highly effective at controlling drug cravings.
With both buprenorphine and methadone, the drugs’ dosage is gradually reduced over the detox period. One oral dose is sufficient for 24 hours.
Benzodiazepines are anti-anxiety and hypnotic medications related to Valium. Other common brand names are Xanax, Dalmane, Halcion, Tranxene and Ativan. They will help with severe anxiety and insomnia.
Muscle relaxants, such as Robaxin and Flexeril, may help the restless leg syndrome and tremors that can occur during withdrawal.
Beta blockers are drugs normally used to treat high blood pressure and certain heart conditions. Clonidine works exceptionally well. By blocking the body’s adrenalin receptors, it eases withdrawal symptoms considerably for many people. It also causes profound drowsiness, which may be a desirable side effect for a client with insomnia. The detox period may last anywhere from a week to several weeks in total.
Never let fear of withdrawal stop you from seeking help. A quality treatment center will be sure to keep you as comfortable as possible. If you’re ready to seek help, you have only to call us at 877-978-3125. We are professional counselors, and we are available 24 hours a day. We can help direct you to the best facility for your needs. We help people every day, and we look forward to helping you.
There are many people, who need detox services, that won’t pursue any help for their addiction. Since the price of this kind of treatment can be high, people become afraid of the cost they may ultimately need to handle. There are even some that don’t want their employer to find out about their addiction, so they don’t seek help for it. While it’s understandable for the concern that you may be feeling, it’s still important to use your insurance plan, when possible, to help bring the price down to something more manageable for you. In this article, we’ll explore some of the things you need to know about using your health insurance for detox services.
There are different health insurance plans and which ones your employer has will vary. If you’re looking to get signed up for a detox program, you should be aware of your insurance options and what kind of coverage you could get. Here’s some information you should know about using insurance for your detox treatment:
Not all insurance providers offer coverage for detox treatments, but most of them do. Each carrier that does has different copays and deductibles, so each person’s coverage will vary with their own individual plans. It’s important to talk with your insurance carrier to find out what they cover and how much they intend to pay. Also, you will need to find out what requirements they have for getting that coverage. For example, some plans ask that you get a physicians referral for the type of treatment you’re looking to get.
The Affordable Care Act started several years ago, enables certain provider plans to cover rehab and treatment as they would cover other mental or health-related conditions. Some items you may find covered under the ACA are:
This opens many opportunities for getting insurance coverage for treatments that previously had none. Now, more providers are getting on board and offering at least a small portion of the treatment programs so that more people can get the help they need.
There are some providers that have predetermined clinics they allow your treatment to take place in. These are usually in-network facilities the insurance company accepts as being a provider of the service you’re getting.
There are, however, some that will accept a specialty or luxury clinic as your treatment facility. In these cases, they’re generally considered being an out-of-network clinic. That would mean they cover a little less of the services you receive and you would have to pay a little more out of your own pocket.
If treatment for your addiction requires inpatient services, all is not lost. Some insurance carriers will cover at least a portion of inpatient services. There may be certain requirements you must meet before you receive those benefits, however.
Inpatient programs are more expensive due to the necessary treatments that will take place during your stay. This raises eyebrows with insurance companies. Some may ask that you try outpatient treatment first before allowing coverage for an inpatient program. Others may be okay with it.
While there’s nothing wrong with pursuing a holistic program for your addiction, you should know many providers will deny coverage in most cases. Holistic treatments are great for providing help with your physical, mental, and spiritual health. Many people have met their addiction-free goals using one of these centers.
However, insurance companies don’t see some of those treatments as medically necessary for a person entering detox. So, they often deny coverage for most services if not the whole program. Check with your provider to see if your plan will cover a holistic type of treatment and what benefits you will receive from it if they do.
In most cases, private insurance plans cost significantly more than a public insurance would. Even though they tend to charge higher monthly premiums, they make up for it with their broader coverage options for your medical and detox needs.
Private plans often will let you choose from more facilities and receive coverage for more types of treatments. They also will pay much more of the program services than a public insurance plan would. With that said, you still must check with your provider to be sure they will cover your detox.
Each insurance plan will be different with what they will and will not cover. They’ll also vary with the requirements they place on people who are seeking detox treatment. Some of these companies may ask that you add a mental health treatment program, of some type, to your detox service.
Insurance carriers recognize the importance of long-term treatment for addictions. Detox services that help the addiction, initially, could cause some serious withdrawals and side effects, so a treatment program that adds mental health may be necessary. Once the two programs are combined, they could cover a good portion of the service.
Using health insurance to keep the cost of detox down will ease the stress you otherwise would have otherwise worried about how to pay for it. Even though each plan is different in what items they cover and how much coverage they provide, still pursue finding out what yours will do for your detox needs. Don’t assume that they will cover any part of the program. Ask first and get all the information you can. It’s also important to note that there are still payment options available if you need help paying for the remaining amount that insurance doesn’t cover. If you’re confused about your plan or if you have other questions you need answers to, call us at 866-754-9113. We’ll be glad to help you out.
Suboxone is a combination medication used to ease opioid withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms are painful and highly distressing. Symptoms include:
The acute phase can last for up to ten days to two weeks. Other symptoms, such as insomnia and weakness, can persist for as long as several months. Opioid withdrawal is very difficult to endure. It’s no wonder people who are addicted to opioids continue to use their drug of choice just to avoid it. Others, who would like to quit, aren’t willing to do so without some sort of medical assistance.
Suboxone contains two medications. One is buprenorphine, which is a synthetic opioid. It helps to curb withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings by partially activating the same opioid receptors in the brain that heroin and other opioids do. It’s not a full opioid agonist, however. This means that its ability to activate opioid receptors is only partial. It has a ceiling effect. A ceiling effect means that buprenorphine will not work to ease withdrawal symptoms beyond a certain dose. Suboxone daily doses are generally around 16 milligrams. Some people feel fine on less. Doses beyond 32 milligrams are not recommended.
Suboxone also contains naloxone, a drug used to treat opioid overdose. It’s widely known by its brand name, Narcan. It’s included at doses equal to one-quarter of the buprenorphine content. If you’re taking a 4 milligram dose of buprenorphine, then you’re getting 1 milligram of naloxone. The naloxone is included to discourage abuse of the buprenorphine if it’s injected. When taken orally as directed, the amount of naloxone won’t have much effect, if any. However, if it’s injected, it will block any euphoric effects from the buprenorphine. People tolerant to opioids, as heroin addicts are, rarely experience any euphoria from oral doses of Suboxone.
Suboxone is generally safe for most people. It’s certainly safer than using heroin, particularly if it’s injected. Intravenous injection of heroin can lead to endocarditis, an infection of the heart valves than can easily kill. If the damage to the heart valves is severe enough, the person will die without open-heart surgery to replace them. This type of surgery, even if successful, often leaves the patient with permanent, disabling health problems, such as weakness and shortness of breath.
People using heroin, even if it’s not injected, are still at a high risk of overdose. This is because the heroin scene has changed in recent years. Much of the heroin sold is now cut with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid about 50 times stronger than heroin. Fentanyl has analogues, or chemical cousins, even stronger than that. These are sometimes used as cutting agents, too. It’s not hard to see how an unwitting heroin user could easily overdose and die from heroin cut with fentanyl.
The use of Suboxone for the treatment of heroin addiction is controversial. It’s a synthetic drug. It’s not derived from opium like heroin is. Suboxone has only been in use as a treatment for opioid addiction since about 2002. Heroin has been around since at least the 1890’s. Much more is known about heroin than Suboxone. Suboxone has some peculiar side effects not generally seen with natural and semi-synthetic opioids:
There is no way to be sure what these peculiar side effects might mean for long-term Suboxone users.
Suboxone has other problems, too. It’s addictive. It generally produces a protracted, highly unpleasant withdrawal syndrome that lasts at least a month. This is because the drug has an extremely long half-life. A half-life is an expression of the time it takes for the body to metabolize, or break down, half of the dose of an ingested drug. Buprenorphine’s half-life is a whopping 24-42 hours. Because they stay in the body so much longer, long-acting drugs produce longer withdrawal timelines than short-acting ones.
Suboxone will cause a phenomenon known as precipitated withdrawal, or PW, if given too soon into the withdrawal process. It typically cannot safely be given any sooner than around 48 hours after the last dose of heroin without risking PW. Therefore, the heroin addict must be in full-blown withdrawal before they can obtain any relief. This is a definite drawback. Many heroin addicts simply aren’t going to suffer that long before getting relief. They are more likely to turn to methadone, which can be given at any time. At sufficient doses, methadone will stop withdrawal symptoms in their tracks within an hour or two at most. Methadone is also a synthetic opioid, but it’s full agonist, not a partial one.
The fact is, in contrast to methadone, Suboxone won’t work for everyone. People with very high opioid tolerance levels tend to be the ones not helped by buprenorphine. These people will need to use methadone to get relief. Both Suboxone and methadone can be used on either a temporary or permanent basis. Both can be used in decreasing doses over time to slowly detox from the heroin and then stop all drug use. Both can also be used as maintenance drugs. This means that a stable dose is taken daily to curb drug cravings and to keep withdrawal symptoms at bay. This allows a motivated individual to work and attend to family responsibilities.
Suboxone has been hailed as a miracle drug by its proponents. That’s probably not completely true, but it has allowed countless people to stop heroin use and pursue normal lives. Anything, whether it’s Suboxone or methadone, or drug treatment or whatever, is better and safer than continuing to use heroin.
If you’re trying to get off of heroin or any other drug, we can help. We have trained counselors available 24 hours a day to speak to you and assist you in finding the help you need. Just call us anytime at 877-978-3125. We look forward to helping you change your life.
Every staff member made this process easier. In the darkest hours they shined light. Judy was absolutely amazing. They helped so much and my family will forever be grateful to everyone there. If you or your loved one needs help, rest assured that they will get the best care.
The place is super nice with absolutely amazing food. Like 5 star restaurant quality food. The staff and therapist definitely care about every client and want what’s best for them. This isn’t one of the sketchy places in Florida that just has a nice website. It really is a great place.
Coastal Detox is a great company. I highly recommend this detox to anyone who needs help and or is suffering from substance abuse. Their staff truly goes above and beyond for each and every person, I was astonished by their medical/ clinical and BHT staff!
My experience at Coastal Detox was great. Very grateful that I had the option to stay here for treatment. Great food and truly caring staff. Definitely recommend Coastal if you are in need of detox or wish to be in a residential level of care.
This is one of the best Detox facilities I have every been too. The doctors and nurses are fantastic and will make you comfortable and treat you individually. The food, rooms and the space itself are all top notch. It is a very safe and comfortable space to get well and all the therapists and staff are so nice, smart and accommodating. I can't say enough good things about Coastal.