Should I Go To A Heroin Detox Center Or Go On Suboxone?

Virtually all heroin detox centers use Suboxone. The difference is that they use it in gradually reducing doses to wean you off the heroin, while doctors who are authorized to prescribe Suboxone generally do so for the long term. These doctors can also wean you off Suboxone, but typically they have regular repeat patients month after month. All licensed physicians can prescribe buprenorphine, the narcotic component in Suboxone, for pain. However, in most states, doctors cannot prescribe the drug for opioid maintenance without a special permit to do so. They must follow strict guidelines. Their patient caseload is limited to a certain number, too.

The Risks Of Heroin

If you have decided to stop using heroin, you should be proud of that decision. If you’ve ever tried to stop before and have experienced heroin’s withdrawal symptoms, then you already know what you’re up against. Suboxone may be able to help you stay clean from heroin permanently. You will no longer risk death and serious health problems from using the drug. After all, there is no such thing as pharmaceutical heroin in the United States. It’s a Schedule I controlled substance, meaning that it’s not only in the most restricted drug category there is, but also that is has no accepted medical use. If you inject heroin, you are at special risk for a heart valve infection known as endocarditis. You could also easily overdose.

The heroin available on the streets of the United States is produced in clandestine laboratories under questionable conditions. It’s safe to assume that there is little regard for cleanliness or quality control. It’s all about the money. If someone dies from a batch that is contaminated or too strong, do you think anyone involved really cares?

Heroin Cut With Fentanyl

Much of the heroin sold in the US is also cut with fentanyl. Fentanyl is about 50 times stronger than heroin. It’s not hard to see how an overdose could easily occur. Many fentanyl overdose addicts have been discovered with a needle still in their arms. They didn’t even stay alive long enough to remove it.

A heroin detox center will most likely want to wean you off all opioids, including the Suboxone they will use to treat your heroin withdrawal symptoms. They will do this gradually. Although you may face some limited withdrawal symptoms towards the end of your detox, you should not be in pain or great discomfort during this time. If you can’t at least eat, drink water and otherwise function, then something is wrong. Be sure to speak up. Your dose may be too low. Other meds may help.

It’s true that not everyone is helped by Suboxone. If your heroin use was extreme, you may fall into this category. Some people just don’t get good results from Suboxone. Not everyone is the same. There are very few drugs that work for everyone who takes them.

You must decide if you want to be completely drug-free or not. If you think you can’t handle a drug-free life, then perhaps you should see a physician or facility authorized to prescribe Suboxone on a regular monthly basis. It’s better than using heroin.

Suboxone or Methadone?

Your other option is methadone detox or methadone maintenance, or MMT. First of all, there is an important chemical difference between Suboxone and methadone. Suboxone and methadone are both synthetic opioids, but only methadone is a full agonist, or full narcotic. Suboxone is only a partial agonist. This basically means that they act upon the brain’s opioid receptors in different ways. Both drugs can occupy and activate the opioid receptors, but only methadone has a full effect. Suboxone’s effect is more of a partial one. That’s why is produces little euphoria. It’s also why it has what is called a ceiling effect. This last term means that once a certain amount of Suboxone has been ingested, it will have no further pain or withdrawal relief effects.

Here are some facts:

  • Overdose from methadone is more likely than overdose from Suboxone
  • Methadone can safely be taken during pregnancy
  • Methadone requires daily trips to a clinic
  • Suboxone can be filled at any pharmacy and taken in the privacy of your home
  • Suboxone may be of limited use for some people
  • Methadone, given in sufficient doses, will relieve opioid withdrawal symptoms in virtually everyone

Both Suboxone and methadone have a long half-life. This means that they are long-acting in the body. Both need be taken only once a day. Both will block the brain’s opioid receptors for time period of up to several days from a single dose. This blockage will prevent any kind of effects from other opioids taken while the blockage is active.

Suboxone does have an important disadvantage: the client must be in full withdrawal from their drug of choice when the Suboxone is administered. This means that the client must suffer through withdrawal for at least 48 hours before they can get relief. This is asking a lot. Because Suboxone is only a partial agonist, it can cause precipitated withdrawal if taken too early in the withdrawal process. Precipitated withdrawal means that the drug will actually make the client’s withdrawal symptoms worse.

Worse than that, the drug will block the brain’s opioid receptors for at least a couple days. During this time, no relief from other opioids will be possible. Never take Suboxone unless and until your body is ready for it. Never lie to rehab or detox staff about the last time you used.

In contrast, methadone, a full narcotic agonist, can be taken at any stage of withdrawal. It will provide complete relief from symptoms. Some people don’t get enough withdrawal symptom relief from Suboxone. These people will probably need to use methadone. Methadone does have one major disadvantage: you will be required to attend a clinic daily to get your dose. This can be disruptive to your life and work routine, especially if there is no methadone clinic near you. Some clinics do allow limited take-home doses after you have complied with their program requirements for a certain period of time. Others never allow this practice.

If you need help deciding on if you should go to detox or rehab, we are here to help. Call us 24 hours a day at 877-978-3125. A trained counselor will be able to help you make the right treatment decision for you. We look forward to speaking with you.

Real Client Testimonials

  • Before coming to coastal I was hopeless, helpless, and my family wanted nothing to do with me. It wasn’t the first detox I’d ever been to, but it was the only one who showed me so much love and compassion. They gave me hope. It’s hard to put into words the amount of gratitude I have for this facility. The employees were my family when I had none. The staff went out of their way to make sure not only were my physical needs taken care of, but my emotional needs as well. From the first phone call prior to admission, to helping me set up continuing care, they never missed a beat. Even going as far as to help me with my legal issues via Zoom court. This isn’t just a detox, they are the family I never had. All of the techs, especially Karen, are phenomenal. They will take the time to listen to you, laugh, and cry(if needed) with you. If you are reading this and you or your loved one is suffering like I was, go to Coastal Detox. The level of care is more than I could ever put into a review. It wasn’t the first detox I’d been to, but it has been my last; I owe them everything I have today, including my life.

    Travis B. Avatar
    Travis B.
    12/07/2020
  • Had a really good experience at Coastal. The staff really went above and beyond in helping me get in and gave me the respect l, space and care I needed after I first got there. As I started to fell better they encouraged me to take part in groups which helped get me out of my head and bring positivity and health to my thinking. They had a great massage therapist, who came daily and it was evident the nursing staff genuinely cared. Got to know some of the staff as well and I’m grateful for the cooks Joe and Chris. Those guys literally made us sirloins and pork chops for dinner. Also I gotta thank Chris and Chris for helping me get in and setting me up with a transition plan. Real grateful for that help, I’m not sure if it’s management intention to hire guys named Chris but they got a good thing going there. Overall, I’m clean and sober today and walking it out. Coastal gave me a base that set me up for the success that I’m walking in today

    Brandon B. Avatar
    Brandon B.
    1/16/2020
  • My family is very thankful for Coastal Detox. They have went above and beyond for my son a few times. Unfortunately he has needed their help more than once and they have ever turned their back on him, even when he was at his worst. Jeannie and Chris have been amazing and kept me informed through the entire process. They truly care about the addict and want to help them especially when it would be easy to give up on them. I had many detox facilities be rude and uncaring to me when I was searching for help for my son, but Coastal never did that to us. I don't know the names of all the team members that have helped my son but I know their are many and y'all are angels!! One day we will be able to pay it forward and help someone as you have helped us. Thank you for all you do!!

    Brenda A. Avatar
    Brenda A.
    1/01/2020
  • Can not say enough nice things about Coastal Detox & staff. Family member was there, told me five stars for the facility & all whom she interacted with. Said the facilities, ambience..., cleanliness, grounds, food, (think their chef is five stars), were all top shelf. All I interacted with personally & on the phone were patient, professional, responsive & caring. Kudos to so many: Jeannie Jones, Clinical Director whom I spent the most face to face time with: great oversight, patience & follow thru. Raquel Barker, Therapist was so understanding & on spot with her assessments/care. Kris Garrigus Admissions Director, another Coastal professional whom I cannot say enough nice things about, always so patient & responsive to my probably too frequent inquires. Not to be forgotten is Judy Tucker, Director of Operations she too so patiently "put up with me"
    I highly recommend Coastal Detox

    Susan C. Avatar
    Susan C.
    11/13/2019
  • Can not say enough nice things about Coastal Detox & staff. Family member was there, told me five stars for the facility & all whom she interacted with. Said the facilities, ambience..., cleanliness, grounds, food, (think their chef is five stars), were all top shelf. All I interacted with personally & on the phone were patient, professional, responsive & caring. Kudos to so many: Jeannie Jones, Clinical Director whom I spent the most face to face time with: great oversight, patience & follow thru. Raquel Barker, Therapist was so understanding & on spot with her assessments/care. Kris Garrigus Admissions Director, another Coastal professional whom I cannot say enough nice things about, always so patient & responsive to my probably too frequent inquires. Not to be forgotten is Judy Tucker, Director of Operations she too so patiently "put up with me"
    I highly recommend Coastal Detox

    Susan C. Avatar
    Susan C.
    11/06/2019

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