Opioid addiction

Opioid addiction is defined as a physical and psychological reliance on opioids, a substance found in certain prescription pain medications and illegal drugs like heroin. Opioids are substances that act on opioid receptors to produce morphine-like effects, primarily used for pain relief or during anesthesia.

Treatment of opioid addiction varies but usually includes discontinuing the use of the drugs, administering medication such as Methadone and Suboxone that can help alleviate the symptoms of withdrawal and cravings, normally treatment includes paring this medication with inpatient or outpatient support programs.

While these treatments have had large success is helping treat the drug abuse epidemic, recently some ‘facts’ that are false seem to be floating around creating havoc. Below are some misconceptions about using Suboxone to treat opioid addiction.

#1 You aren’t really in recovery if you’re on Suboxone.

Truth: This depends on the definition of “recovery” – and with drug abuse being a medical condition, the use of the word recovery is an appropriate term for patients that needs help with withdrawal and to stop using the drug.

#2 Patients abuse the use of Suboxone

Truth: While the medication is an opiate and can be abused, it cannot create the same feelings because it is only a ‘partial’ agonist of the main opiate receptor which causes less euphoria than other opiates.

#3 It’s easy to overdose on Suboxone

Truth: It is extremely difficult to overdose on Suboxone alone. It is more difficult to overdose on Suboxone compared to other opiates, because Suboxone is only a partial opiate receptor agonist, so there is a built-in “ceiling” effect.

#4 You can’t get help with just the medication

Truth: In a perfect world, addiction treatment would include MAT and therapy, support groups, housing assistance, and employment support. But that doesn’t mean that one component, in the absence of all of the others, doesn’t constitute valid treatment for addiction. About 10% of people with addiction are getting treatment, so while combination treatment is an admirable goal, it is unrealistic to expect that everyone with an addiction will receive all the aspects of treatment that they need, especially without access to regular healthcare, insurance, or both.

#5 Treatment should only last so long

Truth: Expert practitioners have different theories on how long Suboxone treatment should last for, but there is no evidence to support the claim that Suboxone should be taken for a short period of time as opposed to being maintained on it for the long term, just as a person would manage their diabetes with insulin for the long term.

One of the main obstacles to getting lifesaving treatment for addiction is the stigma people face. Fortunately, our society’s perception is slowly starting to transform away from an outdated view of addiction as a moral failing, toward a more realistic, humane view of addiction as a complex disease that needs to be addressed with compassion, as well as modern medical care. Eliminating myths and misinformation about addiction, and supplanting them with up-to-date, evidence-based treatments, is a critical step in the evolution of addiction treatment.

Source: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/5-myths-about-using-suboxone-to-treat-opiate-addiction-2018032014496