Suboxone Addiction and Detox


Sometimes extreme situations call for extreme measures, as you might well be aware if you have used Suboxone, or ‘Buprenorphine’ mixed with Narcan as it is technically known. This is a high dose tablet that is used to help treat a range of addictions. It is a semi-synthetic narcotic and is certainly a case of the ‘lesser of two evils’, providing you with a less harmful alternative to some other drugs that nevertheless can be addictive and dangerous in its own right.

Suboxone is a sublingual formulation taken under the tongue and is in the class of narcotics known as ‘opiates’ (derived from opium). Every year around two million Americans use a range of opioid painkillers, while others will use opiates recreational and in some areas this has overtaken cocain and marijuana use.

What Does Suboxone Do?

Suboxone can cause a quick high by traveling rapidly through the blood to the brain thus stimulating opiate receptors and triggering feelings of pleasure and reward, followed by a feeling of relaxation and happiness that can last for several hours. At the same time however this can act on the respiratory center of the brainstem which can gradually decrease breathing. An overdose or interaction can then lead to the breathing slowing to a dangerous level or even stopping altogether.

Under the correct circumstances and combined with the use of counseling and therapy, Suboxone can be used to help reduce withdrawal symptoms from heroin, vicodin, oxycontin, codeine and various other drugs, but in some cases the patient can find themselves becoming dependent on the Suboxone itself, and there are a mixture of physical and psychological reasons for this.


Treatment for a Suboxone addiction is varied and ranges from therapy to support groups which are met with mixed success. Going to rehab centers is a good way for a patient to get away from the regular stresses and triggers they encounter in their day-to-day lives that causes them to feel the need to use opiates as a crutch.

Another method is Accelerated Neuro Regulation (ANR). In this ‘treatment’ the patient is put into a drug-induced coma while they detox and while they are administered with opiate agonists. This is a dangerous process that has very mixed reviews and is not recognized by the wider medical community and should be avoided. More traditional methods of detox such as the aforementioned rehab are always preferable to cures that sound ‘too good to be true’, and you are always better seeing your local GP than following the advice of websites that are trying to sell something to people in an understandably desperate situation. A doctor may prescribe a Narcan shot or another form of opiate to help you deal with cravings, but the real struggle is a psychological one and overcoming your personal demons. Better yet is to avoid a Suboxone addiction altogether by using this crutch as cautiously as possible and by carefully following the doctor’s guidelines.

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Gary Wickman

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