Is Medication Based Treatment Passing the Buck?

Refusing prescription

NIDA’s Prescription Opioid Addiction Treatment Study reports, “The study suggests that patients addicted to prescription opioid painkillers can be effectively treated in primary care settings using Suboxone,” said NIDA Director Nora D. Volkow, M.D. “However, once the medication was discontinued, patients had a high rate of relapse—so, more research is needed to determine how to sustain recovery among patients addicted to opioid medications.

For many parents and addicts, medication-based treatment can seem very appealing. The idea given to many parents is that their loved one will be unable to use heroin or other opiates due to opiate blockers. While this is true and Suboxone can block an opiate high, this does not guarantee the addict will not simply skip over taking it to get high later or resort to taking another drug.

“I spent one year and three months on Suboxone, which then turned into me taking Xanax and planning days where I could do heroin by coming off it.” —Michael A. Narconon Graduate

The appeal of Suboxone for addicts is they can quit being tied to using heroin every day without facing opiate withdrawals, the financial costs of doing heroin and all the rest of what comes from being a heroin addict. Also, as stated in the study, patients coming off Suboxone have a high chance of relapsing and being back where they started.

Even when mixed with counseling, the success rate of long-term recovery after coming off Suboxone is low. This is partly because Suboxone withdrawals are much worse than withdrawals from heroin with the Suboxone withdrawals lasting up to two weeks versus the 3 to 7 days from heroin.

What are the alternatives though? Addicts can be difficult to get into drug treatment in large part due to their fear of withdrawals.

The Narconon program focuses on getting a person off drugs without making the person cold turkey or get onto other medications. To learn more about withdrawals of different drugs and how you can help your loved one turn their life around, call us today.



Aaron has been writing drug education articles and documenting the success of the Narconon program for over two years.