Suboxone® is the first narcotic medication available for office-based treatment of opioid dependence under the Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000. The Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000 (DATA 2000), reduced the regulatory burden on physicians practicing opioid addiction therapy by permitting qualified physicians to obtain a waiver after following special registration requirements under the Narcotic Addict Treatment Act. In addition, DATA 2000 expanded the clinical context of medication-assisted opioid addiction treatment by allowing qualified physicians to dispense or prescribe specifically approved Schedule III, IV, and V narcotic medications or combinations of medications specifically approved by the FDA for the treatment of opioid addiction.
Suboxone® contains buprenorphine and naloxone, the active ingredients used to tackle opioid dependence for opiates such as Vicodin®, oxycodone, morphine, heroin, and Codeine®. Buprenorphine is an opioid containing the unique characteristic of being an agonist (a chemical substance capable of activating a receptor to induce a partial pharmacological response). The other main ingredient of Suboxone®, naloxone, is an opioid that blocks opioid receptors and counteracts the effects if the tablet is chewed or dissolved and injected. Suboxone® is designed to dissolve under the tongue for maximum effect and withdrawal symptoms can occur immediately if Suboxone® enters the bloodstream too quickly.
Over 20% of Americans over the age of 16 have become prisoners of opiate addiction. Although Suboxone® was introduced to the market with intentions of helping certified Suboxone® providers stabilize individuals and gradually taper patients off of opiate dependence, it has proven to be habit-forming and carries the potential for abuse if it is not administered properly.
Being an opiate itself, Suboxone® holds many of the same characteristics associated with opioid dependence. Suboxone® abuse increases tolerance, dependence and can cause addiction. The signs and symptoms of Suboxone® abuse have no fundamental differences from those that can be found accompanying the abuse or addiction to any other opioid like morphine or heroin.
Suboxone® is a category C narcotic and is not for recreational or prolonged use. Unfortunately Suboxone® has been treated as a maintenance medication by many practicing physicians. We at Miami Outpatient Detox use the medication only as a tool during the initial stages of opiate treatment; our goal is to free you of all medications. If you are taking Suboxone® in order to reduce withdrawal symptoms from a more potent form of opiates, it is imperative to follow the doctor’s orders exactly. Failure to do so can result in either continued opiate dependency or severe withdrawal symptoms.
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