Suboxone is typically used in managing opioid abuse. It has been widely prescribed to help reduce the appearance of withdrawal symptoms, and increase the success of an addict’s recovery. Suboxone is made from a combination of naloxone and buprenorphine. Naloxone is a drug that is found to be effective in reducing opioid overdose and works by blocking its euphoric effects. Buprenorphine works by reducing the extreme effects of withdrawal that a recovering addict might experience. Together, these medications make Suboxone very effective. Although addiction to Suboxone is less likely than addiction to methadone, another drug used to treat those addicted to opiate , Suboxone’s misuse can lead to severe damage to one’s health.
According to a survey conducted by Surveillance of Diversion and Abuse of Therapeutic Agents, or SODATA, it has been found that the number of Americans that are addicted to Suboxone is on a steady rise compared to the trends observed in the previous years. The increase has been attributed to the redirection from medical to recreational use, which is very common with patients who use highly addictive medications as treatment for opiate addiction.
There was also an observed rise in the number of emergency room visits due to non-medical use of Buprenorphine, which is a popular brand name for Suboxone. In these emergency visits, it has been identified that hospitalization as due to abuse of Suboxone as well as self-medication to treat opiate addiction.
In 2002, Suboxone was approved as treatment for opiate addiction, and even back in 2010, there were already 800,000 patients that were on Suboxone to help manage their withdrawal symptoms. Suboxone has been found very effective in blocking off the opioid receptors in the brain and in the central nervous system. This helped wean patients off prescription opioids that they were addicted to. However, Suboxone is also addictive and many recovering addicts end up substituting one addiction with another.
Since its approval as treatment for opioid addiction, many physicians have prescribed Suboxone because its use reduces the chance of overdose. The rising number of people abusing Suboxone is starting to worry US officials and they are starting to question the effectiveness and safety of the medication for treating opiate addiction. Plus, when used improperly or by someone who has other opiates in their blood stream, Suboxone can result to very severe withdrawal symptoms.
Although the exact reason for the sharp rise in Suboxone abuse is still unknown, the increase in emergency visits due to misuse of Suboxone as treatment for opiate addiction caused concern for authorities. In the hopes of addressing the alarming rise in the abuse and misuse of Suboxone, US officials are finding ways to make doctors and treatment facilities more accessible to recovering addicts so that they wouldn’t have to resort to self-medicating in an attempt to get well.