For many people, being charged with a DUI is a wake-up call about their substance use problem. Driving under the influence endangers not only the driver, but all other people on the road. If you’ve been charged with a DUI, and you know you’re guilty, it’s important that you get the help you need. DUI charges can be life-altering. Many people faced with themselves want to know: Can you reduce your DUI charges by going to rehab?
The exact consequences for a DUI will vary from case to case. Different states have different penalty laws. In addition, there will be different criminal charges depending on the circumstances. A person who caused an accident with injuries will face more severe consequences than a person who failed a sobriety test at a normal road stop. Going to rehab can have positive effects on your DUI charge, but you should always consult with an attorney to see exactly what your options are.
DUI charges carry serious potential consequences. In most cases, you will lose your driving privileges immediately upon being charged. The length of time you’ll lose these privileges will vary. In some states, your license will be revoked entirely. This means that after the revocation period, you will need to take your driver’s test again to get a new license.
Another factor in DUI charges is the number of prior offenses you have. If you’ve gotten a DUI charge before, you’ll face increased penalties. In some states, three DUIs will result in permanent revocation of your license. No matter whether this is your first offense or third, the best thing you can do for yourself is enroll in a rehabilitation program. This illustrates that you understand that you have a problem, and that you’re committed to doing something to change it.
When the charge is your first DUI offense, enrollment in a rehab program can help you avoid being sentenced to jail time. You’ll probably spend the night in jail on the night of your arrest, with an arraignment the following day. Your arraignment is when you’ll hear the formal charges against you. Your attorney should be present so they can help you understand the charges you’re facing, along with the best ways to combat them.
Sentencing for a DUI charge will typically involve some kind of counseling or rehabilitation program. The most minor offenses will usually have mandated outpatient counseling sessions at a state-approved treatment center. But enrolling in a rehabilitation program prior to sentencing can help in the following ways:
Going to rehab shows that you recognize there’s a problem and that you’re willing to fix it. This illustrates to the court that you’re unlikely to be a repeat offender and that you’re taking responsibility for your actions. If a judge believes you’ve taken responsibility for your choices and taken steps to better yourself, they’re much more likely to be lenient with your consequences.
Some DUI offenders can receive special driving privileges, in which they’re allowed to drive to and from work or school. Others can have their driving privileges back as long as their vehicle has an interlock system installed, which measures their breath’s alcohol content before allowing the vehicle to start. Both of these potential options are more likely to be granted if the offender is enrolled in a rehab program.
If you have previous DUI convictions, you have a much greater chance of spending time in jail or losing your license permanently. Multiple DUI convictions illustrate to the court that you’re at a high risk for offending again in the future. Since judges are concerned with the safety of other people on the road, they’re more likely to level serious consequences against you.
When this is the case, enrolling in an inpatient treatment program is often the best thing you can do, especially if you haven’t had inpatient treatment before. Inpatient rehab programs provide safe, controlled environments where you can address your addiction. Enrollment shows the judge that you’re doing everything you can to prevent a potential relapse in the future.
Voluntarily enrolling in outpatient programs might also help, but inpatient treatment is highly recommended for people with multiple DUI offenses. Multiple DUI offenses are a sign of a serious problem that requires comprehensive intervention. If you’ve tried outpatient treatment and relapsed several times, this may be a sign that environmental factors are preventing you from overcoming your addiction. The controlled environment of an inpatient rehab center will help with that.
The best type of program for any addict, regardless of their substance of choice and number of offenses, is an inpatient rehabilitation program. These programs generally last several weeks or months. They have the highest rate of success and are the best option to reduce your relapse potential.
If you can’t take time off work, comprehensive outpatient services are also helpful. An intensive outpatient program is a good option. These programs involve therapeutic services for several hours a day. They usually involve taking time off work, but they’re also significantly less expensive than inpatient treatment.
Outpatient services are ideal for first offenders with mild addictions. These services might include counseling, meeting with psychiatrists, and taking medications to stop physical substance cravings. Most DUI convictions will involve mandatory outpatient services.
Make sure any treatment center or facility you enroll in has certified employees and programs. You can talk to your lawyer about the resources available to treat your addiction. They’ll have advice about the best options to help your current case.
If you want to talk to someone about your rehab options, we have trained counselors available 24/7. Call 877-978-3125 for confidential, helpful information.
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.
The words narcotic, opiate, and opioid are often used interchangeably to describe addictive drugs that are or have been used as pain medications. While “narcotic” is often thought of as a synonym for “illegal drug,” it really describes a drug that induces narcosis or insensibility. The word narcotic is also a broader term than either opiate or opioid; while all opiates are narcotics, not all narcotics are opiates.
An opiate is a natural substance derived from opium, which is itself an extract from the opium poppy. Opium contains chemical compounds like codeine and morphine. These compounds are thus opiates. The word “opioid” originally described a synthetic or semi-synthetic substance.
While it binds to the same receptors as an opiate and has the same effects, an opioid did not occur naturally. Wholly synthetic opioids like methadone and fentanyl are manufactured in a lab. Semi-synthetic opioids like hydrocodone and oxycodone are opiates that have been chemically modified. The word “opioid” is now applied to natural, semi-synthetic, and synthetic drugs derived from opium.
The Greek physician Galen (130 -210 AD) is believed to have coined the word narcotic, which comes from the Greek word “narkō,” which means “to numb.” He used the word to describe any drug that dulled pain or induced sleep. Galen classed poppy juice and mandrake root as narcotics. Today, narcotics used in medicine are considered a type of powerful analgesic.
Narcotics not only block pain, they also cause euphoria and other altered mental states. Such effects encourage people to abuse narcotics and make them addictive. Consequently, the UN implemented the Single Convention in 1961 to regulate the sale and use of narcotics. The UN used the word “narcotic” to describe drugs like cocaine or cannabis, as well as opioids. While these drugs are not derived from opium, they have many of the same effects. They can block pain sensations, alter mood and/or induce euphoria, and cause addiction. The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), by contrast, considers only drugs derived from opium to be narcotics. It also treats the words “opioids” and “narcotics” as synonyms.
Opioids are drugs derived from opium. While the word originally described only synthetic and semi-synthetic drugs, it now includes natural derivatives of opium. It is thus more or less synonymous with “narcotics.”
Opioids are also defined as anything that can bind to the opioid receptors found on some nerve cells. Once there, they send a message to the brain that slows breathing, blocks pain, and reduces stress and depression. The body can actually produce its own opioids; they are called endorphins. It cannot, however, produce enough endorphins to relieve chronic or severe pain.
Opiates are natural derivatives of opium. They are sometimes called “natural opioids” in contrast to the semi-synthetic or wholly synthetic opioids. Codeine and morphine are opiates. Morphine is considered one of the world’s most effective pain relievers. It could originally only be taken through injection, but can now be taken orally or as a suppository. In addition to blocking pain, it also slows respiration, heart rate, and blood flow, and it causes a feeling of euphoria. People can become dependent on morphine to feel pleasure, and that dependency can lead to addiction. It may take only a few doses to become psychologically dependent on morphine.
Opioids work the same way opiates do and have the same analgesic effects. Some weaker opioids can be used to treat severe diarrhea or to suppress coughs. Opioids can be taken in a variety of ways that include the following:
• By mouth
• Skin patch
• Implanted pump
• Injection into muscle, vein, or area surrounding the spinal cord
• Nasal spray
• Tablet dissolved between the cheek and gum or under the tongue
Opioids are used to treat severe pain caused by injury or surgery. Most doctors use them to treat acute pain that lasts only for a few days. Opioids vary widely in strength; some are effective for only three to four hours, while the effects of the stronger opioids can last for up to half a day.
Examples of synthetic and semi-synthetic opioids include the following:
Hydrocodone is the generic form of such medications as Vicodin, Norco, and Lortab. It is the most commonly prescribed opioid in the US, and it is also the most commonly abused opioid. Hydrocodone is generally used to treat moderate to severe pain, and it can also be used as a cough medicine.
Fentanyl is prescribed to people who suffer from severe chronic pain. It is the generic form of such medications as Abstral, Actiq, Duragesic, and Fentora. In addition to being 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine, fentanyl is made in illegal laboratories. Fentanyl causes an immediate feeling of euphoria, and its potency makes it extremely addictive. Fentanyl’s potency also means that even a small dose can kill.
Heroin is an illegal drug with no medical use. It is less expensive than many prescription drugs, so many people start using it instead of a costlier medication. The CDC found that 75 percent of the people who use heroin had started by abusing a prescription opioid, and nearly 50 percent of the people who use heroin are also addicted to another opioid. Heroin is notoriously addictive, and an overdose is often lethal.
Opioids can be extremely addictive, and an overdose can kill. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, over 52,400 people died from drug overdoses in 2015, making drug overdose the most common cause of accidental death in 2015. Over 60 percent of those deaths were caused by opioids.
Heroin alone caused 12,990 overdose deaths, while opioid prescription pain medications caused over 20,000 deaths. These deaths have been increasing since the turn of the century; four times as many people died from opioid overdose in 2008 as in 1999. Sales of prescription pain relievers showed a similar increase. In 2012, doctors wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioids – enough to medicate every adult in the US.
“Getting clean” is difficult, for opioid withdrawal causes symptoms similar to those of a bad case flu. Anxiety and depression often accompany the physical symptoms. If you have an opioid addiction you will need to undergo a medical detox, and you will also need a doctor’s help and guidance. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day. Call us today for more information.
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.
Amidst the opioid crisis and the battle against opiate addiction, there was an urgent need to find a treatment that could reduce the excruciating withdrawal symptoms clients experience during detoxification.
The FDA’s approval of the drug, suboxone, to alleviate pain and other withdrawal symptoms during an opioid detox has led to more people seeking suboxone detox in South Florida. Many of them fall between the ages of 18-30 and may come from other cities to seek treatment in South Florida.
If you, or a loved one, are struggling with addiction to heroin or another opiate and want to get clean, admission to a detox center can change your life. While there, you may be amazed to learn that with the help of medical professionals you have what it takes to beat addiction and stay sober.
Suboxone is a prescription medication approved by the FDA, in 2002, specifically for treating people addicted to opioids or opiates (narcotics).
Opioids are prescription drugs made from the opium poppy plant to treat severe pain. Opiates are more natural and potent forms of the drug, e.g., heroin, and are used illegally by drug users. Both the natural and prescription forms of the drug are highly addictive, resulting in a massive increase in the number of people addicted to these drugs.
Suboxone is itself an opioid—a partial opioid agonist. The medication comes as a tablet or a film and contains the active ingredients buprenorphine and naloxone. But it does not cause addiction the way other opioids do.
Instead of giving users a high, the ingredient buprenorphine works to prevent a feeling of euphoria by blocking the natural opioid receptors in the brain. The other ingredient, naloxone, then kicks in to reduce withdrawal symptoms. This mechanism of action is what makes suboxone such a ‘blockbuster’ drug in the treatment of opiate addiction.
Detox for opioid or opiate addiction is a physically and psychologically painful process. This is a primary reason why those wanting to recover from these drugs are often unwilling to seek treatment. However, a Suboxone detox in South Florida can effectively rid the body of opiates while reducing the severity of the symptoms.
The client is medically supervised to help them manage withdrawal symptoms to the point of stabilization. Suboxone is also used to manage cravings during the maintenance phase of detox.
The ability of this medication to reduce the effects of withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings are reasons people addicted to opioids use it as an alternative to heroin or in between drug doses. Others have used the medication to self-treat addiction at home. However, using suboxone to detox at home is discouraged due to the risks of serious medical complication from withdrawal symptoms, including these:
• Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
• Extreme mood swings
• Rapid heartbeat
• Dilated pupils
• Abdominal cramps
• High blood pressure
• Chills and fever
• Irritability or restlessness
• Anxiety or depression
• Overpowering cravings (increases the risk of opiate overdose)
In addition to your determination to get over drug addiction, there are benefits of going to a suboxone detox center that can make the process easier.
Tapering: Successfully detoxing requires tapering the user off opiates in a systematic way. During the induction phase, the physician will determine the severity of addiction to set up a suboxone treatment plan that is right for you. This includes the right amount of suboxone doses needed at each stage while tapering you off the drug. A medical professional will administer the doses to allow gradual withdrawal while reducing the effects of the symptoms.
Safety: Trying to detox at home using suboxone is quite unsafe for your physical and mental health. The risk of overdose increases with self-treatment. At a detox center in South Florida, you will be surrounded by a medical staff trained in suboxone detox. These centers usually provide 24-hour services and support to monitor and keep you safe at each stage of withdrawal.
Comfort: Many detox centers in South Florida provide amenities, food, social activities, and a structured and compassionate environment to make recovery easier. Therapists and psychiatrists are also part of the team and can provide emotional support and counseling during withdrawal.
Reduced Risk of Relapse: Tapering off opioid with medical-assisted detox has proven to reduce the risk of going back to drugs. Gradual stabilization of the patient and maintenance help to significantly reduce relapse. The client is considered stabilized once the symptoms are gone and they no longer crave the drug.
Withdrawal, from the point of induction to stabilization, can take a few weeks to several months. The recovery period is based on various factors including the type of opioid abuse, the severity of the addiction, and any co-occurring mental health issues. Therefore, the length of time to completely withdraw varies from one person to another.
Although stabilized, some clients may still experience an occasional urge to use. In such cases, the medical professional will continue to administer low doses of suboxone, if needed, to manage any isolated cravings. This process is called maintenance. At this point, opioid use will not have the usual euphoria effect since suboxone will continue to block its effects on the brain.
Opiate withdrawal symptoms can be severe and need to be medically managed at a detox center. However, the process doesn’t end there. Recovery is most successful when augmented with Medically-Assisted Treatment (MAT) at an inpatient or outpatient treatment center. The professionals at the detox center can assist you with transitioning to any of these programs for psychotherapy.
This phase of recovery deals with mental health issues and behaviors associated with addiction and is conducted by a therapist. You will learn the behaviors and circumstances that trigger drug abuse. You will also learn coping skills to manage cravings and triggers and be equipped with a relapse prevention plan.
People who transition to psychological therapy immediately after detox have a greater chance of maintaining sobriety after rehab. If you live in South Florida, you can begin your journey to a drug-free life by calling us at 877-978-3125.
We know how tough heroin withdrawal is. We understand the pain and depression that occurs when you suddenly stop using your drug. We are here to help you through detox, which is the first stage on your road to recovery. We are experts at alleviating the worst of your withdrawal symptoms. Some clients may experience no symptoms at all. We don’t want you to suffer. We want you to succeed.
Heroin withdrawal symptoms will set in about 12-18 hours after your last dose. They include sweating, nausea, vomiting, insomnia, joint, bone and muscle pain, diarrhea, anxiety, chills and extreme weakness. The whole thing is miserable to endure, and there is really no reason to do so. Medications are available to suppress these symptoms until your body adjusts to the absence of heroin.
Abuse of heroin causes changes to occur in the brain. Eventually these changes cause the brain to be unable to function normally unless heroin is present on the brain’s opioid receptors. The brain’s endorphin system has also become deranged. Endorphins are natural brain chemicals that suppress pain, relieve depression and cause feelings of pleasure and reward. When exogenous, or outside, opioids are taken for a period of time, the brain stops producing its own endorphins. It takes time for the body to begin to produce them again. The brain also grows extra opioid receptors. These extra receptors are abnormal. The presence of the extra receptors and the low levels of endorphins probably contribute to much of the misery of withdrawal. The body will fix itself. But it takes time.
Medications can help by treating your symptoms as they occur. Suboxone is one medication that we use a lot. It contains buprenorphine, a synthetic opioid. Buprenorphine attaches to the same brain receptors as heroin does, but it doesn’t activate them in the same way. Its effect is only partial. However, for many heroin addicts, it’s enough to alleviate withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings. You will not feel much, if any, euphoria while taking Suboxone. You will just feel relief. We will gradually reduce your buprenorphine dose, from high to low, over a period of time. We do it slowly. This gives your body time to adjust. This method of slowly reducing a drug’s dosage over time is known as tapering. It’s highly effective for most people.
If you still experience significant withdrawal symptoms after your Suboxone taper is finished, we can extend the time a bit. Our goal is to get you drug-free, but not everyone is the same. Some clients may need a little longer. That’s okay. It’s not a race to see how fast you can become drug-free.
Some clients may not get enough relief from Suboxone alone. Medications such as muscle relaxants, anti-depressants and benzodiazepines can help. We are careful with benzodiazepines because they are addictive, but we understand that some very anxious clients, or those with severe insomnia, may require a low-dose, short-term, course of these calming medications.
The goal of detox is to get the client off of all addictive drugs completely. It’s the ideal outcome, but does it work for everyone? No. It doesn’t. Not all heroin addicts will be able to live drug-free for any length of time. Heroin causes profound changes to occur in the brain. Some of these changes may lead to persistent drug cravings in some individuals, even in the absence of withdrawal symptoms. Some people, especially those who abused heroin in high doses for long period of time, simply don’t feel normal without an opioid in their systems. Even high-quality residential drug treatment may not help these people. The problem is physical.
Drug cravings that won’t go away set a clean former addict up for almost certain failure. Living with powerful cravings will nearly always lead to eventual relapse. A person can only take it for so long before giving in. For these people, there is Suboxone and methadone maintenance.
Both Suboxone and methadone are used for detox purposes. Gradually decreasing doses are given over a certain period of time. This allows the body to adjust to the absence of an opioid. If done properly, it almost always greatly reduces opioid withdrawal symptoms. But Suboxone and methadone can also be given on a daily basis as maintenance medications. Both are highly preferable to heroin use.
However, both Suboxone and methadone are addictive. Both are long-acting and will produce withdrawal symptoms, if suddenly stopped, that are far worse than those of heroin. Symptoms drag on for at least a month for Suboxone and even longer for methadone. A person who has become dependent upon either one must either continue to take the drugs or face a highly unpleasant withdrawal syndrome. Both drugs can and should be tapered before stopping them, but they tend to still cause some uncomfortable degree of withdrawal to occur.
But then again, a person using heroin risks death every time they use it. It could be contaminated with dangerous bacteria and toxins. It’s probably been cut with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid many times the strength of heroin. In the United States, there is no such thing as pharmaceutical heroin. All heroin sold there is produced in illegal, makeshift labs with little regard for safety and purity. When you buy heroin, there is no way to be sure what you’re getting. Certainly maintenance on Suboxone or methadone is preferable to death.
The controversy rages on. Opponents of opioid drug maintenance say that it makes no sense to trade one addiction for another, but that’s not exactly true. At least Suboxone and methadone maintenance are medically supervised and safe. Proponents of Suboxone hail it as a life-saving medication. They are partly right, but then again, Suboxone is so new, there is no way to know what its long-term effects might be. It seems that there is no easy answer.
If you’re struggling with a substance abuse problem, we would love to help guide you to the right treatment option for you. We are here 24 hours a day at 877-978-3125. Just call us. A friendly, trained counselor will listen to you and then advise you as to the best options available to you.