The Opioid Epidemic
Opium came to the Americas in the 17th century, and reports of widespread addiction can be seen as far back as the civil war. Laws limiting the use and sale of addictive opioids have progressed over the 19th century, culminating in the Controlled Substance Act of 1970.
During that time, doctors turned to nerve-blocking surgeries and non-opioid pain medications to deal with chronic pain. However, in the 1980s and 1990s, prescriptions for hydrocodone (found in Vicodin) and oxycodone (found in Percocet) began to increase. In 1998, Purdue Pharma spent $207 million advertising it’s powerful opiate pain medication OxyContin. These advertisements focused on OxyContin’s long-lasting pain relief, which lasted 12 hours, 8 hours longer than its competitors. These advertisements failed to mention that the drug was also extremely addictive and readily abusable. From 1997 to 2002, sales of oxycodone (the primary ingredient in Percocet and OxyContin) increased by over 400%.
In addition to the millions manufacturers spent to advertise these powerful narcotics, they also paid doctors to prescribe them and lobbied their products to politicians.
According to a study performed by the CDC, in 2012, the opioid prescription rate in the US was 81.3 prescriptions per 100 people. Many people started taking these medications without knowing that there was a potential for addiction.
When treatment using these medications ended, many experienced Sudden Opiate Withdrawals (SOW). This is a harrowing experience, and many people turned to buying opioid pain medication illegally or to illegal drugs, like heroin.
Synthetic opiates such as fentanyl and carfentanil, which are many times more potent than heroin, have become more readily available. This has led to a considerable increase in opioid-related deaths.
In 2017 opioid abuse was declared a public health epidemic in the US, with 142 people dying from drug overdoses every single day, making the US the world leader in both opioid abuse and overdose deaths.
What Is Suboxone?
Suboxone is a combination of the drugs Buprenorphine and Naloxone. Belonging to a class of drugs called opioid agonist-antagonists, Suboxone offered a completely different experience for people seeking treatment.
While Buprenorphine is an opioid, it is different because it only attaches only to part of the opioid receptor. This limits its euphoric effects but still functions to stop withdrawals and cravings. Naloxone blocks the effects of opioids. Taken in conjunction with buprenorphine decreases the risk of misuse.
Why Is Suboxone Better Than Other Treatments?
Until recently, methadone was one of the only available treatments doctors had for patients suffering from opioid dependency. Methadone is a synthetic opioid developed in World War II by German scientists to treat pain.
Methadone is a narcotic analgesic and belongs to a class of drugs called opioid agonists. It mimics the euphoric effects of powerful opiates such as heroin. Methadone was also long-lasting enough to be taken once daily, and doctors in the mid-1960s saw its potential implications in the fight against opioid addiction.
While methadone was the only option available, it was hardly a perfect solution. It has been associated with some troubling side effects. Methadone is highly addictive and has withdrawal symptoms similar to heroin. Many even say these withdrawals are worse and last longer. Methadone can also be fatal if misused.
In fact, when abused, methadone is responsible for more than double the overdose deaths of any other opioid. Due to its intrinsic street value and the dangers associated with abuse, methadone is dispensed daily only at specially licensed clinics. This dramatically limits the travel and schedule of individuals receiving treatment.
Suboxone is designed for safety. It does not have the euphoric effects associated with methadone but stops cravings and withdrawal symptoms. In addition, Suboxone effectively takes away the pleasurable effects of other opiates such as heroin or other medications. Women who become pregnant can safely start or continue Suboxone treatment.
Even at high doses, Suboxone treatment usually is well-tolerated. Most patients report feeling like normal again when receiving Suboxone treatment. Withdrawals from Suboxone are less severe than with other opiates. Suboxone has a long enough half-life to allow doctors to taper doses down to every other day, eventually allowing patients to come off the medication completely.
Thirty-day prescriptions and once a week, therapy sessions help those receiving Suboxone treatment to maintain work and travel schedules. This also helps addicts escape the stigma associated with drug treatment.
Suboxone is covered by most insurances. Coupon programs and newly released generics also help lower the cost. For individuals who want a painless transition to suboxone from methadone, the FDA recently released the drug Lucemyra to help with the transition.
What Is a Suboxone Doctor?
Even though Suboxone is less controlled than methadone due to its low risk of abuse, it still has to be prescribed by a specially certified physician. The initial process of receiving Suboxone treatment is similar to a methadone clinic. A urinalysis is required to make sure the patient is not taking substances that would negatively interact with Suboxone. The doctor prescribes Suboxone after completing a medical analysis.
Suboxone is a Schedule 3 controlled substance under the Controlled Substance Act of 2000. This is a class below methadone. This means Suboxone is less controlled than methadone and is often prescribed in 30-day increments.
Patients are required to get counseling and random urine screenings throughout their treatment. However, if a patient demonstrates they are compliant with the treatment, they are often only required to come in once a month for testing and counseling.
Finding the Right Suboxone Doctor Near You
If you google Suboxone doctors near me, there are more than likely going to be a number of options to choose from. While finding the closest or most convenient Suboxone doctor is important, it is far more crucial to find a treatment center that offers complete rehabilitation.
People who are opioid-dependent need healing in almost every aspect of their lives, including their bodies, minds, behaviors, finances, and relationships. It can be challenging to know what to look for when seeking treatment options. With a bit of research, you can find a lot out about what a facility has to offer.
If you search online for a Suboxone doctor near you, also check to see how people online rate them. While it can sometimes be subjective, the comment section is often a good introduction to what you can expect from the program.
Research what accreditations or licensing the facility has. You should also inquire about the credentials of the clinical staff. Some programs make claims that they are unable to live up to. If a program lists a success rate, they should have published, peer-reviewed research to back it up.
An effective addiction center has more than proper licensing and medication. On paper, a program can seem to meet all requirements but lack components crucial to long-lasting success. Programs that have a “cookie-cutter” or “assembly line” approach toward treatment don’t take an individual’s needs and history into consideration.
While these programs can solve some immediate problems facing addicts, they often fail to achieve true rehabilitation. Search for a program that takes an individual, custom-made approach to your treatment. Make sure to check what kind of therapies (individual, group, and family) the treatment center offers.
Finances are a major factor when determining whether a treatment facility is a good option for you. What kind of insurance does the Suboxone doctor or treatment center take? Many treatment programs offer only short-term, inpatient detox programs. These are considerably more expensive than long-term outpatient services. Inpatient services attempt to detox an opioid-dependent person in 72 hours or less. This type of “spin-dry” sobriety usually doesn’t last.
Why Right Path Addiction Centers?
At Right Path Addiction Centers, we specialize in treating opioid dependence through medication-assisted treatment in conjunction with individual, group, family, and even art therapy.
We believe addiction counseling is vital to your recovery, and at Right Path Addiction Centers, we build a relationship based on trust and free of judgment. Our counselors provide support and guidance while helping you to recognize and avoid your triggers and gently motivating you to change at your own pace.
We also believe that each individual has different needs and build a customized treatment plan to meet them. We have compassionate and qualified staff to guide you or your loved one through the recovery process. Believing that everyone deserves a second chance, regardless of economic restraints, we proudly accept most insurance carriers as well as Medicaid.