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Is Suboxone the Answer to the Crisis of Opiate Addiction?

Aug 17, 2007
In the past few months 100s of fatalities spread across the nation from heroin overdose. The states most affected by those tragedies included Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Missouri, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland. This surge in fatalities was due to
Fentanyl Laced heroin! A new tactic adopted by drug dealers to drag people into their webs. Fentanyl is a highly potent synthetic opiate that dealers mixed with heroin to increase its efficacy and appeal to their customers. Both federal and state governments felt the impact of this phenomenon on the society and acted swiftly to combat it.

In the course of my work with patients addicted to heroin, I have frequently heard from them that drug dealers are giving away free heroin bags in order to get the customers hooked. An estimated 140,000 new patients fall into the traps of those dealers each year. Most new comers into this underground world are our youth who hold that the future of the nation and world. 75% of these patients are men.

Painkillers addiction is also invading this section of the population. The 2004 National Institute on Drug Abuses (NIDAs) Monitoring the Future survey of 8th, 10th, and 12th-graders found that 9.3 percent of 12th-graders reported using Vicodin without a prescription in the past year, and 5.0 percent reported using OxyContin-making these medications among the most commonly abused prescription drugs by adolescents.

Does that seem compelling enough for us to consider it as a national crisis. In my eyes it definetly qualifies as such. Traditional drug rehabs for this particular condition have proven to be of minimal value and that prompted our government to research alternative approaches resulting in the approval of Suboxone for out patient treatment of opiate addiction.

Suboxone was approved by the FDA in late 2002 and became available on the market by early 2003. It does not cause significant sedation like methadone does, rather it results in a feeling of normalcy, which is one of the reasons why patients really embraced this treatment modality. Another benefit is that it does not result in the same level of dependency as methadone does hence it is easier to detox patients off this medication.

Patients often tell me that Suboxone has changed their life and for the first time they feel that they are back to the way it was prior to using opiates. Could Suboxone be part of the answer to the crisis of addiction to opiates? We will just have to wait and see.
About the Author
Board certified Internal Medicine
Board Certified Palliative Medicine
Certified in Addiction Medicine.
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www.softlandingrecovery.com
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