BY OLEG KHAGHANI
In the year 2000 the Federal Government passed the law allowing physicians who go through a special training and have passed a test, to prescribe suboxone for the purpose of treating opioid addiction. In the early years following this legislation, the number of the patients that each doctor could treat was limited to only 100 and the number of trained doctors was limited to a very few.
That changed in 2016 when an addendum to the original law expanded to 275 the number of patients each doctor could prescribe the medication. The addendum also eased the qualification for prescribers of this medication. With this latest change the program was extended to cover an extra 70,000 patients according to the DEA web site.
In the early days when this drug came to the market, it became known as the “Miracle Drug” in the treatment of opioid addiction. Because it is 30 times more powerful than morphine, only a small amount is required to allow chronic opiate users to be treated successfully.
In addition, because Suboxone is a mixture of buprenorphine (a partial opiate, whose euphoric effects are minute compare to other full scale opiates such as heroin) and narcan (a medicine that is used to overcome an opiate overdose), its abuse potential is much less than other full opiates such as heroin or fentanyl. These concepts combined together, is what promised suboxone to be the “Miracle Drug.”
Yet, several years after its introduction to the world of chemical dependency treatment, this miracle drug began to have rebound effects in its usefulness, and in some cases became a nightmare for those for whom it was prescribed. I, as a certified drug counselor who works with chemically dependent individuals, have witnessed this first hand on a couple of occasions.
There are suboxone addicts who are afraid of stopping its use for fear of the long lasting and severe withdrawals that are associated with it. What the original laws, prescribers, and dispensers of this so called miracle drug had forgot to investigate is the fact that this new medicine, because of its very long half-life, and its extreme potency in comparison to many other opioids, is much more difficult to overcome when it becomes time to stop treatment by those who become addicted to it—the same individuals who started using it to get off various other opioids.
Testimony to this fact can be found by the dozens on many YouTube channels, posted by those who have become a slave to this new “miracle,” and in various peer-reviewed and professional research articles. Many of these individuals have compared addiction to suboxone as a fate worse than addiction to any other opioid.
Thus, what began as a miracle, has now come to be a form of a curse in the chemical dependency world.