In the U.S., the Opioid epidemic has soared to catastrophic levels. Opioids are addictive, and their abuse is now a national crisis. Statistics from the National Institute on Abuse indicate that over two million American citizens abuse opioids, and on average, over a hundred people die every day from Opioid overdoses. You can find out more about the effectiveness of Suboxone against the Opioid epidemic here https://www.recoverydelivered.com/2022/12/14/benefits-of-long-term-suboxone-treatment/
Impact on Society
Since 2000, the Opioid crisis has severely affected the U.S., causing over 500,000 deaths. These overdoses exponentially increased during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, reducing the life expectancy not experienced in the U.S. since 2014. Injection of opioids like heroin has led to a broader spread of HIV and hepatitis C.
The Opioid use disorder (OUD) in the U.S. has adversely affected communities, endangering national security and economic output. The problem has also increased the number of children in foster homes, with more adults unable to care for their children. Babies with withdrawal symptoms or neonatal abstinence syndrome caused by exposing babies in the womb to opioids have also gone up.
Understanding Opioid Addiction and its Effects
Opioids activate your brain’s reward centers. The trigger your brain to release endorphins, hormones released when your body experiences pleasurable experiences like eating, sex, massage, or exercise. These endorphins help to give you a sense of well-being, reduce stress and relieve pain.
Endorphins boost your feelings of pleasure and mute your pain perception, creating a temporary sense of well-being. Once the dose of opioids taken wears off, your brain wants to feel the same pleasure again, and the cycle continues to addiction.
Addiction to opioids leads to numerous physical and psychological side effects, such as:
- Collapsed veins
- Heart infections
- Permanent kidney, liver, and lung damage
- Pulmonary complications
Most Opioid addicts often suffer from psychological issues. Some disorders that co-occur with addiction to opioids:
- Alcohol abuse
- Eating disorders
- Anxiety disorders such as PTSD(Post-traumatic stress disorder), generalized anxiety disorder, or obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Suicidal thoughts
Suboxone’s role in treating Opioid addiction
Opioid addiction may take time to treat, depending on the severity of the addiction. Suboxone, a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone, is a medication-assisted treatment for Opioid addiction. These two medicines decrease the withdrawal symptoms and help the patient to wean off the opioids.
Suboxone belongs to a medication known as an Opioid antagonist, the opposite of Opioid agonists like morphine, heroin, or oxycodone. An Opioid agonist activates your pain-numbing receptor, which alters your pain perception by releasing endorphins disguised as pleasure.
By preventing the activation of pain receptors, buprenorphine nullifies the Opioid effects, which helps manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings, thereby preventing relapses. Naloxone can block the highs induced by opioids.
Suboxone has several potential benefits, such as:
- Reducing Opioid cravings
- Managing withdrawal symptoms
- Ceiling benefit, which means you do not get high
- Alleviate pain
- Blocking effects of other opioids
Suboxone Treatment in the Context of the Opioid Epidemic
Three million people in the U.S. are addicted to opioids. Suboxone is the gold standard in treating Opioid use disorder (OUD). Approximately 11.2 or 336,000 people were receiving treatment in 2020. Some of the challenges and barriers that prevent access to Suboxone treatment include:
There is a lot of stigma towards OUD patients and medication for treating addiction among the public and professionals that interact with OUD patients. This stigma poses a barrier to the number of people who seek cures.
- Lack of Proper Professional Training and Education
Another barrier is the lack of proper training and education among the personnel and health care providers in law enforcement and the judicial system where these addicts end up.
- Insurance Barriers
Regulations governing public and private insurance covers prevent patients from accessing medication-based treatment for Opioid addicts. Such insurance coverage includes Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance. If policies relating to insurance coverage and reimbursement expanded access to such medication, more people would benefit.
Case studies of Successful Suboxone Treatment
- Amanda S. Was addicted to heroin for fifteen years. After she kicked the habit, she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. She tried several opiate pain medicines, but they didn’t work until she put on Suboxone in the fall of 2010.
- Thousands of people in varying treatment centers nationwide have had successful Suboxone treatments.
However, using Suboxone without counseling and aftercare might prove ineffective for Opioid addicts, so rehab is still essential. This care helps the patients not to relapse into old habits and keeps them accountable by patiently supporting them until they no longer need it.
Suboxone is the gold standard for Opioid addiction treatment compared to methadone. Moreover, Millions of U.S. citizens have become addicts of opioids, and it is now a national crisis. Medicine-assisted treatment like Suboxone works well in reducing cravings and blocking receptors.
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