In light of the passing of the 21st Century Cures Act the opiate epidemic continues to get mainstream attention. A new standard of treatment for opiates has been created for the first time since the beginning of this dilemma, which began in 1996 with the extensive marketing from pharmaceutical companies.
States are now quickly making grant money available to all sorts of medication assisted treatment (MAT) programs. No matter if these programs are detox centers, outpatient clinics or inpatient facilities everyone seems to be benefitting if they are using buprenorphine, the synthetic opiod used to assist in substance abuse treatment.
Doctor’s are calling buprenorphine a wonder drug. The substance is being wildly accepted into the medical field for its “damage control” traits of allowing addicts to overcome cravings from the more harmful opiates.
But with all this hype and praise comes some room for questions. As we have learned with pharmaceuticals there are always trade offs and side effects. Take a look at our news feed from yesterday pictured below . It shows that there is a darker side of this miracle drug that nobody is talking about.
The first article praises the drug and its ability to fill-in for the more deadly opiate craving with little change in daily life practices. We find that the drug alone leaves addicts with minimal tools to handle life’s events as they unfold.
The second article is an addict who is seeking information on how to beat a drug test because he lacks the desire to be sober and has discontinued his medication but needs to make his drug test look like it still contains buprenorphine.
Lastly, the posting is from Craigslist and is a much too common problem with MAT. Successfully managing buprenorphine for an addict is a tall order. An addict can be faced with urges to over medicate or medication becoming misplaced. The fact is that buprenorphine can be abused and misused. Strict guidelines and treatment plans are imperative for long term sobriety and success.
AARG VIEW: Buprenorphine is an effective drug to help addicts stay engaged in treatment without having too severe of cravings that lead to relapse. However, a treatment plan incorporating therapy, life skills, self help programs and other aspects of a balanced lifestyle are imperative to be able to effectively discontinue this medication at some point in the future. We look at buprenorphine as a band aid to allow an addict the mental space to do the work needed to overcome their addiction. Solely using the medication will be the same result as opiate medications have shown for chronic pain users; short term effectiveness, long term problems. MAT requires crucial oversight by professionals to ensure positive outcomes.
AARG helps addict’s use the tools to effectively overcome the barriers of MAT treatment. Contact us for more information. firstname.lastname@example.org