Recently, the U.S. government made some rule changes that allow doctors more freedom when treating those who are addicted to heroin or opioids with buprenorphine. Buprenorphine is a drug that is also commonly known as Suboxone. Suboxone is an opioid that is used to ease withdrawal symptoms and doesn’t give a high or issue debilitating effects.
Prior to the new rules, certified suboxone physicians were only allowed to treat 100 patients per year. That number has been increased to 275 patients. It is estimated that as a result, 70,000 more patients will have access to suboxone and rehab.
Under the old system, rehab specialists actually had to turn people away for no reason other than the fact that they weren’t allowed to treat more than 100 people per year.
Opioid Addiction Often Starts With a Prescription
Often these addictions are not developed at a party or through heroin dealers. A lot of people become addicted from a legal prescription to deal with an injury. When a person takes painkillers over a long period of time, they build up a tolerance and need more just to feel any effect. Worse, it actually increases the sensation of pain.
When a person tries to quit cold turkey, it can be painful and very difficult. They have intense nausea, lose their sense of taste and their pain becomes severe and persistent.
Addiction is a complex issue and rehab can be a long, involved process. One of the things that seems to be prevalent is negative enabling. People end up allowing an addict to stay in their home and even pay for their food. Couples especially struggle with this. Few couples survive when one or both members become addicts.
It is said that most of the time, addicts will not go to a rehab center or a suboxone detox doctor until it is demonstrated that their behavior has consequences. Enabling comes from a good place. Loved ones don’t want to put the addict out on the street or end up in jail. The ugly truth is that the addict is still in danger. If an addict has money, they will do more drugs and their tolerance will increase. This usually leads to the pursuit of stronger opiates like heroin, which in turn increases the likelihood of an overdose. There comes a point where no amount of money is enough. The heroin addict often ends up stealing from the very people who are trying to help them.
It is usually necessary to get support from qualified professionals and drug treatment using suboxone or subutex. This includes therapists and support groups. Addicts are very volatile and a professional can offer insight on how to handle them.
There Are No Old Opioid Addicts
Opiates like heroin are lethal. There are very few heroin addicts who still use at the age of 40 or 50. If they don’t get sober, they will have a short life.
When an addict is ready to become sober, they often start in a drug detox center. Doctors will perform a number of tests and they will administer a detox drug like suboxone to curb withdrawal. Methadone is a detox drug only used in certain settings. It is more common to see suboxone and subutex used for detox. The patient will be slowly weaned off of these drugs during detox over a period of about a week.
Once detox is over, the patient is sent to a drug rehab program. In rehab they will learn skills to cope and prevent a relapse.
Some patients end up with mental health issues. They are enrolled in what is called dual diagnosis treatment.
The entire process takes about two months. Opioid addiction is notoriously difficult to break and most patients relapse at least once. The sooner an addict begins the process, the sooner they can get better and lead a happy life.