If you watch TV at all you have seen the ads for the myriad new medications that are constantly being marketed by the pharmaceutical industry. You may have also seen these ads in some form or another on the Internet or in your email inbox. For whatever ailments people have there is always a new drug that is being advertised as the “be all, end all” cure.
No matter what the drug is it seems that there is always a rather long, laundry list of unpleasant side effects. Nausea, dizziness, headache, rash, fever, bloating, muscle spasms, bleeding, memory loss, seizure and coma are but a few of the unexpected effects one may suffer from.
It is important to note that not all medicines are advertised on TV. When is the last time you saw an ad for Methadone? With that in mind try and guess what medication is outselling Viagra. It’s a drug called Suboxone. Suboxone is actually two drugs – the partial opiate agonist Buprenorphine and the opiate blocker Naloxone. Suboxone is commonly prescribed to opiate addicted individuals, along with a weaning down process. It used to be that if you had a severe heroin addiction and wanted to get clean the addict was prescribed Methadone. One trades the addiction to and illegal drug (heroin or opiates) for a legally prescribed highly-addictive medication. A medication that is not without significant side-effects.
Suboxone was designed to replace or to stand beside Methadone as a drug replacement medication. If taken as prescribed, an opiate addicted person can rid themselves of their addiction to heroin very quickly. There is no question that Methadone and Suboxone are also very addictive and they also have significant health consequences.
Here is one addict’s story:
“I remember one Christmas when my wife’s mother asked me to hang some lights on the edge of the roof of her two-story house in Vegas. I lugged a massive ladder out of their garage and proceeded to hang the lights. Once I finished I started climbing down and missed a rung only to plummet onto the driveway. I was taken to a hospital and a few hours later I was being discharged with a prescription for Oxycodone.
I filled my scripts so many times I lost count, going deeper and deeper into a six-month opiate haze that I ultimately couldn’t seem to find my way out of. Finally I asked my regular doctor for help and he prescribed me Suboxone. That along with my doctor’s kind words of reassurance gave me hope of no more endless days of sickly, drooling agony.
I quickly decided that I could continue to get high if I crushed the Suboxone pills up and snorted them. Pow! I was off like a rocket for four months. I traded one addiction for another.
I did finally manage to get off of Suboxone by switching to Heroin. It was cheaper and easier to get. Why did I switch to Heroin? Well, the euphoric effects of the Suboxone wore off and I got tired of paying for doctor visits and scripts. That and after four months on one of the strongest opiate painkillers available (Oxycodone) I really wanted to be high again – what is called cravings.
Doctors don’t tell you about that. Remember that doctors are busy and have limited time with their patients. Some doctors even assume that their patients will just follow their orders and take stuff as prescribed. This is what I have discovered about Suboxone (Buprenorphine/ Naloxone):
Suboxone has been shown to be effective in the treatment of mild to moderate opiate addiction in certain people. I think Suboxone should be taken only as prescribed by your doctor in a weaning down process. Talk to your doctor if you experience any of the following effects:
1. The high wears off and you start seeking other, drugs.
2. People keep asking you for one of your pills.
3. You start trading your pills for heroin.
4. You begin crushing and snorting your pills.
5. Your wife/ husband leaves you
6. You are unable to pay your bills resulting in the power being turned off, etc.
6. You lose your job and you start selling drugs or other illegal activities to support your habit and life-style.
7. You get arrested / need of a bail bondsman.
It can cost you your life – then of course, it’s too late.
Looking back I can see that I started down that long, twisted road to Hell with prescriptions including pain killers and the “cure” Suboxone. It’s hard to believe that something small and innocuous looking could be leading nearly to my death. Kind of like finding a bullet in a drawer; pretty harmless until you load it into a gun and give it to to someone who does not appreciate that they have a deadly weapon in their hand.
The point of all of this is that I don’t believe there are any magic drugs. I guess that when new drugs are researched there are bound to be negative side effects. If the good effects out-weigh the bad ones then the drugs go on the market. It is really up to the doctors and the patients to decide what is best for a given situation. Unfortunately it sometimes takes years before it is discovered that some drugs have effects which are quite deadly, like Thalidamide in the 1960s and many other drugs that are in the headlines quite regularly these days.
For me, I finally did beat my addiction before it beat me. I speak to a lot of addicts and their families and they usually say that replacing one addictive drug with another (for treatment) doesn’t make sense. I would agree. I would say that it is really just substituting one addiction for another. I finally did beat my addiction completely. I am not hounded by my past. I got my family, my self respect, my sanity and my happiness all back. It took a lot of work but the experience of fighting for all of that gave me a lot more than just my sobriety, I also got my life back. I think any addict can but I don’t think you will find all of that in a pill. I found it in the Narconon Colorado – A Life Worth Saving program.
– Mike T. former opiate addict