Pink Pills

Suboxone Abuse – Parents Are Getting Wise

Suboxone abuse is the poster child for replacing one addiction with another. The talk amongst families is that something’s seems horribly wrong. They wonder whether their kids really need to be on Suboxone in the first place and why doctor’s are keeping them on it for so long?

Parents have serious concerns

Parents are reporting many concerns about their children and their Suboxone treatment.  Some are reporting that the treatment is never ending and they don’t understand why detox should take this long, especially for a young addict who is a relatively short-term user of the drug.   Many doctors prescribe Suboxone initially as a detox agent; yet continue to prescribe it as a long-term maintenance medication.

Parents are fearful their kids will never get off Suboxone and aren’t being told the truth: that some youth just aren’t ready to get sober and the ones who are will need to do whatever it takes, which is suffering through painful detox symptoms to get to the other side.  No parent wants to hear that their son or daughter needs to hit rock bottom before they’re ready to quit, but it’s the truth.  Doctor’s and drug companies are making a lot of money on the emotions of parents.

Other parents report that they have discovered their kids are using Suboxone as a way to maintain their addiction instead of treat and eventually quit their opiate use.  Some addicts are still using heroin, selling their Suboxone, while saving enough to get them through the withdrawal symptoms between highs.  They crush and snort it but it’s still not the high they are used to or the one they want.  Eventually, they return to full on heroin addiction once again.  This is a vicious cycle and one that spiritually blocks an addict from ever getting well.  The critical factor here is that the drug companies and doctors know this, yet they continue to prescribe the controversial drug.

There are dangers of using Suboxone in combination with Heroin

If an addict is physically addicted to heroin and shoots Suboxone or takes it under the tongue, it will cause immediate withdrawal symptoms.  There is extreme danger when combining heroin and Suboxone. It increases the chance of respiratory depression (a decreased rate of breathing) and if respiratory depression is severe enough it can cause death.

Percy Menzies, a pharmacist and addiction expert states “Buprenorphine is one of the most abused pharmaceuticals in the world.”  He told the National Pain Report, “We took an abused drug and we said let’s use it to treat addiction to heroin and opiates.”  For a drug addict the most painful part of trying to quit a substance addiction are the feelings associated with the withdrawal.  If they can regulate the degree to which they feel or don’t feel pain, then what motivates them to stop using?

Who is really benefitting here?

DR Pink PillDoctors, drug companies and hospitals are counting on the fact that parents are uncomfortable hearing their children whine about heroin detox. Drug companies make tons of revenue making Suboxone.  Doctors and hospitals profit as well by keeping the prescriptions flowing and recycling young people through the system, putting a Band-Aid on the problem and never addressing the need for a true physical detox once-and-for-all or speaking to the underlying issues leading to drug abuse in the first place.  Everyone wants the quick and easy fix but with Suboxone it won’t be quick and with heroin addiction it is never easy!

If you really want to help your child quit heroin use, then you have to be willing to do whatever it takes and educate yourself.  Remember with heroin addiction it’s all or nothing, there is no choice but tough love.  This is not weed.  It is not alcohol or coke or crack.  It’s heroin, the worse drug in the world and the hardest to quit.

Long-term recovery community – not long-term drugs

Find out if possible, what pain is driving your child’s heroin addiction.  Following primary treatment, placement in a long term, reputable recovery community will secure the detox.  These parents found a peer-based recovery community that supported a 12 Step fellowship, and taught solutions to living “life on life’s terms”.  Some kids detoxed without Suboxone, but the common theme among all was finding a recovery community of peers for aftercare support and a lifestyle change.

  • F.B.
    Posted at 09:50h, 21 April Reply

    This article is spot on. I am a little over 2 years sober and had been prescribed 16 MG of suboxone and subutex a day for 2 years before getting clean. I would alternate between shooting heroin and taking the suboxone. Once I convinced my doctor to prescribe me subutex by complaining about the side effects from suboxone, I was able to inject the pills as well. I could switch between the heroin and the suboxone whenever I wanted and was also able to sell my suboxone prescription to other opiate addicts so that I never had to experience being sick and ultimately was able to use the medicine that my insurance paid for to finance my heroin addiction. Having this crutch was a huge impediment towards finally getting sober and also allowed me to fool the people in my life that cared about me by promising that I was clean because I was taking my suboxone.
    I would not have the sobriety that I do today if I had not experienced the uncomfortable heroin detox process – it was important for me to have to feel some of the consequences of my actions. My doctors were content to leave me on a high dose of suboxone for years while my addiction remained completely untreated and I was still using and drinking on a daily basis.
    I needed the withdrawal to be part of my story and looking back with some sobriety, I am grateful for the experience because of the motivation it gave me to not feel like that again.

    • MT4yr
      Posted at 20:20h, 14 April Reply

      Thank You!!

    • Monica whitwwll
      Posted at 03:04h, 15 May Reply

      What made you quit altogether? My family is concerned about my brother. He’s not acting right at all and says he’s taking suboxone. He’s falling down a lot , dropping things and acting weird…

  • Martha
    Posted at 09:46h, 26 April Reply

    F.B. I applaud your honesty, thanks for sharing your story! I know it will help someone else struggling with the same issue.

  • Annie
    Posted at 13:35h, 08 May Reply

    Thanks for the informative article and help clarifying just why suboxone isn’t the answer to withdrawing from a heroin addiction. My son is currently in recovery (at New Life House) but for the last two years he’s been using suboxone to “manage” his addiction. He was very persuasive in describing just why he needed the suboxone (which is expensive when insurance doesn’t cover it) to help him stay “sober”. I didn’t understand how trading one drug for another was sobriety and I had the sense that he may have been selling it and/or using it to manage an ongoing heroin addition. Even after talking with the professional prescribing it to him I didn’t understand the benefits.

    It’s helpful, if frustrating, to know that doctors and drug companies are exploiting our fears as parents. Up until now I kept thinking I just didn’t get it…the benefits of were there, but I couldn’t see them.


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  • Josh
    Posted at 13:47h, 02 January Reply

    My wife recently became addicted to oppiates. I was unaware for a long time because I worked nights and slept during the day. I caught on a after falling behind on the bills over and over.That made no sense so she confessed the addiction. She is currently taking suboxone to help fight the urge to abuse again, but I’m concerned that the suboxone is just as bad cause she just has to have it. Wish I knew what to do, she doesn’t find anything wrong with the drug and I don’t personally know the affects but she seems to get a high of some kind.

  • Jeff
    Posted at 13:40h, 11 January Reply

    Some things are wrong in this post, others are true…..but I think the main reason why a lot of doctors continue prescribing suboxone is because it prevents OVERDOSE. If your kid is on suboxone and goes out and does heroin or oxycontin, they will not even come close to overdosing. If your kid is clean and goes out and relapses it is very likely he will overdose or come close to it. Its not ideal and it is overperscribed for the most part….but the part about suboxone being mixed with other opiates as being deadly? That is false…the opposite is true. Even if your kid stops taking suboxone for a few days, goes out and does some drugs, their tolerance will still be sky high and it is VERY unlikely they will overdose. Its nearly impossible to overdose if you have been on a decent amount of suboxone for more than a week….and its not from the narcan in the drug, it is from the bupenorphine(the main opiate in suboxone). Bupenorphine is so powerful and lasts so long in the system that it often prevents users from getting high….It is true though that if they take a lower dose or skip doses they can get high, but even then its much less likely that they will overdose if they go out and use heroin or pills. And you can get high by taking suboxone if you change your dose around, but its unlikely you will die from opiates while on it…You will die from mixing alcohol, barbituates, or benzos(xanax, valium, etc..) with suboxone or any other opiate though…that should be parents main concern with kids on suboxone…making sure they dont mix alcohol or trainquilizers with suboxone. Also if your kid barely was addicted to opiates, like he did it a few times and was sent to rehab, and was put on suboxone without being physically addicted….you need to go spit in the doctors face who did that…I have witnessed it, people being put on long term suboxone maintnence even though they were never truly addicted to opiates and just abused them from time to time. Its messed up and I feel sorry if you are a parent and now have a kid that is physically addicted to suboxone but was never physically addicted to opiates before. A lawsuit is in order.

    • Mom
      Posted at 16:09h, 10 September Reply

      Jeff, from experience, I politely disagree. My son overdosed while taking Subs. He also overdosed while on Vivitrol. All it took was using and using some more, until the addict passed the level of prescribed medications.

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