Suboxone Opiate Detoxification
The medical professionals at Hazelden in Beaverton are experienced with working with patients who are physically dependent on opiates. This means, that when a person stops using pain medication, opium or heroin that their body goes into withdrawal from the absence of the drug. Opiate withdrawal is not physically dangerous but is accompanied with significant anxiety, tremor, sweating, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Often, patients describe this experience as having the “stomach-flu.”
The medication Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone) is medically indicated for treatment of opiate addiction and dependence. Suboxone is an opiate and patients who take Suboxone become physically dependent on the Suboxone just as they would any other opiate.
The pharmacology of Suboxone is significantly different from all other opiate medicines. Meaning, that the medicine works on the brain differently.
Most people report that it is not possible to “get high” from the Suboxone. This means that the symptoms of withdrawal are treated, but the patient is not reinforcing the pleasure center of the brain that we understand is a key player in the disease of addiction.
The brain is the target organ for Suboxone treatment, and the levels of Dopamine, Serotonin and Epinephrine begin to stabilize after just a few hours without “getting high” or having uncomfortable symptoms which prevent people from being able to continue employment and participation in their life responsibilities. We know that the stabilization of brain chemistry is the first critical part of achieving a successful recovery.
Suboxone is a useful tool, but is not THE answer to opiate addiction and dependence. Suboxone helps reduce the craving to “get high” for many who are addicted to opiates. We know that people who take Suboxone for long periods of time (greater than 6 months) are less likely to relapse using heroin or relapse using pain pills. But we must remember that the medicine cannot do all of the work, and taking Suboxone for a long time is similar to taking methadone. One dependence is traded for another, with the expectation of slowly tapering off the medication.
Hazelden physicians and staff insist and enforce active participation in a personalized, abstinence-based recovery program. We will not prescribe Suboxone to patients who continue to use or abuse other illicit drugs, alcohol and we will not prescribe Suboxone to those prescribed “Medical Marijuana.”