Suboxone Treatment: Maintenance, Treatment, and Long-Term Recovery
In the last 10 – 15 years, opioid-blocking medications such as Suboxone treatment have been getting more and more press. Suboxone can help with maintaining opioid withdrawal, but it also has the potential to become habit forming and dangerous. For instance, Buprenorphine-related ER visits tripled between the years of 2006 -2011.
It is important for us to understand the proper use of Suboxone treatment as opposed to maintenance. Suboxone maintenance programs are viewed as a form of harm reduction.
Harm Reduction: At A Glance
Harm Reduction typically refers to policies and programs which aim to reduce the risk and damage of harmful drugs to people who are having difficulty stopping the use of drugs. This means employing the use of education, medication, and approaches that attempt to control the drug use from an addict through a regulated and safe system, as well as offering resources which they may choose to use. One of the most famous forms of harm reduction is through Methadone clinics, whose history dates back to the 1960’s. In the past 10 years, we have seen different more controversial forms arising, such as safe places for direct heroin injection in Vancouver BC.
Harm Reduction is one way to fight the opioid epidemic.
According to the World Health Organization, nearly 15 million people suffer from dependence to opioids. With the use of Buprenorphine and Naloxone, physicians are finding that they are able to alleviate the dependence of opioids in its users. As a partial opioid agonist, Buprenorphine produces a mild form of the effects produced by opioids. Users who take Suboxone are unable to achieve the full effects of opioids. This makes the drug more difficult to abuse than substances such as Methadone.
Pacific Crest Trail Detox employs the use of a Suboxone taper system. The main purpose for the taper is to avoid any further dependency on substances.
Tapering The Treatment: Abstinent Based Recovery Found Through Suboxone
It is important to note that a suboxone taper program, like the one we use at Pacific Crest Trail Detox, can be used as a preventative treatment technique, used to manage the discomfort of opioid withdrawal in a tapered system, which eventually allows them to be completely abstinent from any form of narcotics in their system. The comparison of this would be a longer-term maintenance program which could cause the suboxone user to develop tissue dependence on the drug as a form of relapse prevention.
We at Pacific Crest Trail Detox recognize suboxone treatment as a beneficial medication which has the potential to assist the addict in their treatment of opioid addiction. We feel the best way the client can benefit from this would be through a rigorous taper system. Our staff at Pacific Crest Trail Detox has a full understanding of the benefits of Suboxone treatment. However, they also have a full understanding of how it has the potential to become habit-forming.
We strongly feel that these responsible practices will set the patient up for success upon transfer from our detox facility.
– J. Dalton Williams