Treating Opioid Dependence with Suboxone in Rhode Island

Opioid Dependence and Suboxone

By Kate Logan LMHC, LCDP

What are opioids and what are the characteristics of opioid dependence?

Opioids are drugs that are either derived from, or chemically related to opiates or opium. They include, but are not limited to, vicodin, morphine, codeine and heroin. Many of these drugs are commonly used painkillers, and people often become addicted as a side effect of long term pain management treatment.

Common Characteristics of opioid dependence include:

  1. Tolerance to the Opioids—this happens when you require more of the drug to get the same effect, or getting less effect from the same amount of the drug
  2. Withdrawal Symptoms are present when opioids are not used. These symptoms generally occur about 6-12 hours after the last use of the drug, and the most common symptoms are sweating, muscle pains/aches/cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, “goosebumps”, dilated pupils and insomnia.
  3. Taking larger amounts of opiods than planned or for longer periods of time than planned
  4. Persistent desire for the drug, or inability to quit using
  5. Spending a lot of time and effort to obtain, use, or recover from use
  6. Giving up or significantly reducing social activities or obligations
  7. Continued use regardless of the negative consequences

What is Suboxone?

Suboxone is a medication used for treatment of opioid dependence. It is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist that blocks opioids from attaching to the opioid receptors in the brain. This medication reduces withdrawal symptoms as well as cravings. Naloxone is typically used to treat opioid overdose, by knocking other opioids off the receptors and therefore preventing the negative effects of the drug. The naloxone is present in Suboxone to deter people from injecting the drug. If it is injected, the naloxone can cause serious withdrawal symptoms.

By using the combination of buprenorphine and naloxone, suboxone works to suppress opioid withdrawal symptoms as well as reduces opioid cravings.

What will my treatment be like?

Here at Anchor Counseling Center, we work hard to provide you with the correct amount and type of support to make your treatment successful. We provide you with a psychiatrist to handle your suboxone treatment, as well as a counselor to provide support and education for you and your family. Working together, they will develop a treatment plan perfectly suited to meet your needs. Typically, you will be seen weekly by a therapist and anywhere from 1-4 times monthly by the psychiatrist. There is no time limit to treatment, and the length of time that you are on suboxone is a decision only you and your psychiatrist can make together.

If you want to take the first step in receiving treatment for opioid addiction, call the office at 401-475-9979. We will be happy to answer any questions you have and get you on your way to health and recovery!

References:

Suboxone Sublingual Film. Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals Inc. September 14, 2012. www.suboxone.com

Clinical Guidelines for the use of Buprenorphine in the Treatment of Opioid Addiction. Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 40. Rockville, MD. 2004

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