Monday, November 30, 2009

Suboxone: Good? Or Bad?

I was at a conference last week and a very well respected psychiatrist was speaking on Pharmacology. In his presentation he spoke about putting people on Suboxone maintenance. My first thought was “Really? You believe in that?” Obviously I did not express my thoughts out loud, but I thought to myself that this physician might be part of the problem that we have in the recovery community these days.

Here is my thought on Suboxone. We at Sunrise Detox, use it as a detox medication, and when people leave Sunrise Detox, there are no prescriptions given. They are drug-free, which in my eyes is what sobriety is.

So I pose this question to everybody out there. Here is the scenario:

Thirty-five year old heroin addict, skipping out on his job, stealing from his children, running around on his wife, and when he goes to one of these clinics, the doctor puts him on a Suboxone maintenance program. And now, our thirty-five year old heroin addict is not stealing from his kids’ piggy bank, is showing up to work on time and being a reliable husband.

Here is the question I pose; is he in recovery?

My personal opinion is no. I say no because he is still dependent on a narcotic medication. I guess I feel so strongly about this because at times I feel that Suboxone could be going down the road of Methadone. And , as someone who was on the Methadone program for two years, it did not help my recovery at all. In fact, it enhanced my addiction--it gave me a legal way to get high.

The question that I really want to leave you all with is- “Is Suboxone the next Methadone?”

This is a topic I feel very strongly about and it is one that I have discussed with many professionals and people in recovery. I would really love feedback on this topic, and plan to revisit it again.

Is Suboxone part of the recovery, or are we just changing seats on the Titanic?


  1. I know people who have done very well on suboxone. We have no opinions on outside issues and this has saved families and lives.

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  3. I have plenty of opinions on outside issues, because I have a life (and brain) outside of NA.

    Addiction is addiction. Recovery is recovery. As simplistic as that sounds, there are a lot of people who just. don't. get. it.

    As long as I am addicted to a drug, I am not in recovery. I am not free to live my life unencumbered. The neural pathways remain open. I am subject to relaps instantly the first time I can't get the Suboxone, Methadone, Heroin or whatever that I'm on for maintenance. My addiction is still active, I'm just not getting high.

    Not only that, I'm still thinking like an addict...shaping my life around a drug. I am not getting the support I would be getting, the assistance in clearing up my thinking, the fellowship and example that show me how to live a healthy life again.

    I may be functioning in the Earth People's world, but there is no way I'm living in it.

    Maintenance treatment is a scam. All of it. It's just running in place, waiting to slip. Thanks for bringing this up, Ira. It needs to be said over, and over, and over...

    See you Saturday,

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  5. Agreed Bill. I appreciate all of these different views and thoughts. Thanks a lot. See you.

  6. I have had many talks with represintitives from Suboxone. Their position is that this is a drug that should be used for a acute period of time and that the doctor that puts someone on it for the long haul is not using the drug correctly and may have to answer for it. The only way a doctor can put someone on a long term perscription of this drug is when they proscribe it for pain, not addiction. Like all drug treatment issues for addictions, the problums can be minimised by using a doctor who understands addictive illness and not a doctor who says they understand it - and thats almost all of them. Look for a doctor who is an ASAM member, and not even all of them know how this should be used.

  7. I belive it is good for a detox, but as far as maintence it is just like a methadone maintence..Except you dont have to go to a program to get at first you just get a prescription from a dr.