medically assisted detox
When to Seek Medically Assisted Detox
January 31, 2020
medically assisted alcohol detox
Medically Assisted Alcohol Detox
February 12, 2020

Suboxone for Opioid Addiction Treatment – Benefits & Risks

suboxone treatment for opioid addiction

Heroin is a highly addictive substance and use carries a number of risks including overdose and contracting communicable diseases. In an effort to reduce the number of overdoses and the spread of untreatable communicable diseases associated with the use of heroin and other opioids, pharmaceutical companies have developed drugs that interact with the brain similarly to opiates but do not carry the same risks. Suboxone is the brand name for one of the pharmaceutical drugs used for opioid addiction treatment.

What is Suboxone?

Suboxone is a medication that is a combination of 2 different substances: buprenorphine and naloxone. These substances react with the same receptors in the brain as opioid drugs. Naloxone will block the opioid receptors and prevent an overdose where buprenorphine will suppress cravings and limit the euphoric high associated with opiate use. When someone takes Suboxone they will essentially get a high that is less than heroin or fentanyl, they will not have the same cravings, and they will be much less likely to overdose. There is also a limit to the euphoric effects of suboxone so taking more will not produce a greater high. This removes the benefits of abusing the drug. 

When prescribed, Suboxone is administered in either a film or tablet form. If the substance is melted and injected, it would lead to withdrawal symptoms.

Benefits of Suboxone Treatment

The function of Suboxone offers a number of benefits to an individual who is addicted to illicit opioid drugs, such as heroin or fentanyl. When taken as prescribed, Suboxone can help an individual wean off of opioid use without experiencing the intense withdrawal effects. Additionally, even if Suboxone is abused, there is a much lower risk of overdose. Lastly, illicit opioid substances are often injected via a needle and prescription Suboxone is taken orally. Oral medications will not transmit deadly diseases like HIV, whereas needle sharing can.

Risks & Dangers of Suboxone Use

Individuals who have struggled with opioid addiction may be prescribed Suboxone as a part of their detox and treatment process because it is a safer alternative. However, there are a number of risks to be aware of. For one, suboxone will be used to replace the use of heroin or another opioid and the individual will likely become physically dependant on it. They will then need to use Suboxone over an extended period of time before being fully weaned off. Suboxone film and tablets can be abused by being melted and injected. When the drug is injected, it will lead to unpleasant withdrawal symptoms that usually prevent this type of behavior. However, in order to get rid of the withdrawal symptoms, the patient might seek an illicit opioid drug. The risks of abuse make it imperative that Suboxone administration is closely monitored by a medical professional who is experienced with addiction treatment.

Other Medically Assisted Treatments for Opioid Addiction

There are a number of medications used to treat opioid addiction, but none of them offer a cure for the disease. These medications are also not meant to treat any underlying conditions such as musculoskeletal pain or non-addiction mental health disorders. Other pharmaceutical drugs used for opioid addiction treatment include Methadone and Naltrexone. Subutex is also a medication used during detox that it essentially Suboxone without the Naloxone. It has a higher rate of abuse, which is why it is only used in a highly controlled environment.

Learn more about Suboxone detox.

Find out if you or your loved one is a good candidate for Suboxone for opioid addiction treatment. Contact Compass Detox to get started today.

Brooks V.
Brooks V.
Brooks has been a freelance journalist for the better part of two decades, as well as spending a decade as a crisis intervention counselor. Through his own work and researching the work of others throughout the many facets of the detox, crisis intervention, and mental health worlds he has been able to tell the stories of those worlds in an effort to help addicts and those with mental illnesses understand and navigate them.