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By:  Erika Hebert-Cormier





 The Scientific & Clinical Research Spanning the 13 Years Since Suboxone Therapy was approved by the FDA in 2002, for those enrolled in or considering maintenance level of treatment.

I have many pieces I'd love to share with you.....the more we can spread around the more lives we touch. My latest is about Suboxone, unbiased & NOT about cons, replacement, or any negative opinions based on lack of knowledge.  It is based on simple practical use of the medication and the 12+years of research that has now shown its primary purpose and effectiveness, and the value as yet another tool in the fight against addiction and fatalities. 

SUBOXONE is the first opioid medication approved under DATA 2000 for the treatment of opioid-dependence, whether from addiction or long-term prescription use.  Suboxone was a breakthrough treatment due to its easier and much more confidential accessibility to patients seeking treatment who either dislike the non-anonymity of other FDA approved treatments like Methadone, and for those who cannot go to a clinic for a daily given dose of Methadone for many reasons.  The daily dose law restriction enforced heavily by the government means a patient must show up on a daily basis to receive their medication and this makes it a very difficult treatment method to access, due to the inability for those with a family or job to make the commitment to a program requiring DAILY visits as well as for the hundreds of thousands in need of replacement therapy who are NOT in close proximity, rather extremely far from any methadone treatment facility, thus also causing a very real and devastating barricade tot the enormous number of people desperately seeking treatment for their addiction and are limited by the area where they live.  This is a real problem in the treatment of addicts who live in very rural areas, without ANY clinics within hundreds of miles, sometimes thousands of miles away from where they live.  These areas also have detrimentally limited resources, if not zero resources to help them access the latest treatment options available in America today. 
SUBOXONE is the ONLY FDA Approved therapeutic treatment for Opiate Addiction whose system is based on very confidential, initial prescription given to the patient on a longer-term, take-home basis.  For example, Suboxone is prescribed to the patient primarily 1 time per month with a prescription lasting 4 weeks, with a smaller percentage of Suboxone providers offering a week-to-week prescription, very much the same  system used for any other medicine prescribed to patients for the majority of other medical conditions requiring ongoing medications, comparable to the most common prescription system in place for all other chronic ailments like Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol, Depression, Other Mental Illnesses, Neurological Conditions such as Epilepsy, and a vast amount of other common medical conditions requiring regular medical monitoring & daily controlled prescription medication therapy.
2.  Although the FDA has made major strides in treating addiction, using the same treatment model, used for other chronic health conditions for years’ it is the change in accessibility and anonymity is a great advancement for addiction being completely respected & as the serious illness it is scientifically proven to be, and acknowledgement in the medical community as a growing problem across the United States, with numbers of those suffering from addiction growing in occurrences, more then any other medical epidemic in the last 5-10 years. 
With this recognition in the medical community finally being addressed, and further validated and backed with research data and public health data throughout the country, Addiction is finally being acknowledge by all medical professionals as the fatal disease it is and thus creating an urgency in the public health sectors, social –political arena, and the entire medical and research science community, who have now for the first time, joined together to address this life or death, deeply fatal disease, and committing their expertise and trust their patients and the community have towards them, to solve this crisis, create campaigns for public awareness and enroll the public into wide community discussions, mainly focusing on the challenges which have had some compromising setbacks in communities and tolerance by those in society and even some still in the medical fields practicing directly with these patients. 
3.  Myths and Long Studied Actions of Suboxone that have revolutionarily proven that the Myths have absolutely NO scientific data to prove these Myths, nor does society’s unfounded ideas, theories, opinions and prejudices hold any data to back up their claims, which can contribute detrimental, fatal and highly dangerous information to society, which is unfounded and untruthful in its entirety.  To understand the facts of how and why Suboxone treatment is a viable and highly successful therapy for those who are at a point of taking their lives in their hands, and chancing life or death, every single day, and more so, with every single use of their addictive, dangerous and potentially fatal drug.
The primary active ingredient in SUBOXONE is Buprenorphine, and the addition of Naloxine (not to be confused with Naltrexone-an entirely different drug with different mechanisms.)
Buprenorphine is a partial opiate Agonist & a partial opiate Antagonist.  What does this mean?
Buprenorphine does consist of a partial Agonist mechanism, which means that it DOES provide an opiate response when taken.  HOWEVER, this partial Agonist response means that instead of a traditional FULL AGONIST opiate such as Heroin or Opiate/Opioid Drugs like Percocet, Morphine, Fentanyl, Vicodin, provide the body systems with an overload of dopamine being sent through the body at full potency and full speed, overloading and drowning the brain and body with a highly unnatural amount of opiates and opioids.  Hence the overpowering feelings of content, euphoria, and energy that is on full blast, experienced by illicit drug addicts.  Now Suboxone being only a partial agonist, it only provides the body with exactly HALF of this dramatic overload of brain chemicals like Dopamine, Endorphins and other “feel-good” chemicals in the brain. 

The very basic difference between these 2 substances of a full agonist and a partial agonist is that since a partial agonist only supplies the body with 50% of the neurotransmitter response, responsible for the human reward systems in the brain and feel-good chemicals, unnatural to any healthy, human body,
SUBOXONE at the appropriate dose given in a correctly monitored program cuts the overwhelming flooding of these brain altering chemicals by HALF.  AN easy way to understand this is that a 100% full agonist like Heroin is as if the brain chemicals which influence body actions, emotional feelings and every system in the body to perform to unnatural standards is like the brain outputting these chemicals at 100 miles per hour.
Suboxone’s Partial-Agonist abilities and properties set the brain’s output of these unnatural brain chemistry responses at 50 miles per hour. 

4.  In medicine, a reduction of action by a drug by a full 50%, cutting this mechanism in HALF, makes a replacement therapy like Suboxone, such a healthier choice and much less potent affect on the overall brain’s response to the partial agonist actions versus the full agonist actions.  Due to the fact the Suboxone still does contain a partial agonist affect, this is the responsibility for why Suboxone works but not to the point of heroin and painkiller abuse.  Therefore the dangers associate between the 2, are cut literally in HALF.  But the partial agonist action of Suboxone provides the patient with JUST ENOUGH of a full agonist action. 

5.  The prognosis of this, is Suboxone replaces that incontrollable physical instinct to seek out their drug of choice which is any category of any full agonsist, because they are receiving half of this action, providing the patient with enough of an opiate agonist at the opiate receptors in the brain which severely crave opiates, so that their brain receptors are sufficiently satisfied and being activated enough-not as much as a full agonist, but just enough so that Suboxone provides incredible clinical results for the patients enrolled in the treatment and the end result being that it eliminates cravings physically for additional opiates. 
The consistent, dedicated use of daily Suboxone therapy provides affects and a level of comfort never provided or available before the introduction of Suboxone in 2002.  These results and the level of comfort felt and received by those taking Suboxone is profound and cannot be compared to ANY other available treatment for addiction on the market thus far, today in medical intervention.  The use of Suboxone contributes to the following unique responses to its patients adhering to the prescribed regimen, a direct response by the unique action by the drug to provide only a partial but still a mechanism of being an opiate Agonist, like NO other drug available today, as of 2015.  

6.  Reducing illicit opioid use; Subxone helps the patients stay in the treatment program and adhering to its schedule, because Suboxone Suppresses the excruciating, painful, unbearable symptoms of opioid withdrawal, that in previous years was not well-controlled or managed, therefore patient on Suboxone instantly feel these incredible positive change in results themselves, adding to an increased adherence & commitment to continue on their programs, for they each can physically & psychologically feel the miraculous control of symptoms provided by Suboxone by itself, as they’ve never experienced through cold turkey, other older medications, detoxification short term programs and even methadone therapy. 
This positive response and noticeable feeling and positive changes, can be drastically attributed to the decreasing of the unbearable pain of withdrawal through the use of Suboxone, because Suboxone has a fast onset & DIRECT result, in reducing illicit drug abuse of opiates/opioids in a very astonishingly quick amount of time in therapy. 

7.  This should in no way, discount the importance of patient compliance.   The BEST outcome, requires on the patient’commitment & follow through to taking the treatment medication AS prescribed and AS instructed to follow esch individual’s program, prescribed daily doses, and taking very seriously the dangers to NOT combining drugs that are unapproved to be used with suboxone by their treatment provider, which there are many dangerous combinations, and the patient not trying to take their treatment in your own hands, such as changing doses without consulting with the treating physician, following the doses they have been instructed to use & not taking unapproved or dangerous drugs in combination with your Suboxone treatment.
8.  The action of Suboxone therapy directly curbs cravings FOR illicit opiate drug use while on Suboxone, because the Suboxone continuously & outstandingly has proven through decades of follow through, including clinical studies, that the addict’s body’s need to return to the human biology’s natural, healthy state of homeostasis.  This can ONLY occur with long-term opiate patients who have long used or abused opiates receiving medical intervention regularly and under the advice of the treating physician and specialists. Suboxone provides the body with the correct level of opiate for each individual.  The partial agonist opiates the body receives through Suboxone Treatmet drastically if not entirely decreasese and even halts entirely- any craving for opiates/opioids while receiving the amount needed to feel under control.   Residual patient cravings are the tricky area of treatment for addiction, being the psychological addiction.  Since Suboxone is proven over and over again in clinical monitoring and statistical & clinical follow through irrefutable data, has been documented these results, and is a serious part of treating each and every person’s individual potential success, this irrefutable evidence that it is the psychological craving for the drug which must be and is recommended by ALL professionals in the addiction treatment field. 

10.  Patients after having curbed their physical dependency on opiates, must take the crucial next step in treatment, which is acknowledging the need for psychological intervention in order to combat both areas known to cause difficulty achieving long-term sobriety and staying involved and dedicated to their Suboxone program and regimen; which ALL Substance Abuse Professional Providers, agree that achieving this dual approach to successful treatment, means the patients need further therapeutic psychological counseling and therapy; and the best known treatment modality for this is to date in 2015, is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, otherwise called “CBT”.   CBT is a resource that has grown enormously across America with more resources all over the country, making it much more easy to access for patients, due to more providers offering this therapy, insurance companies covering the cost of such treatment and even state Medicaid or community medical assistance programs offering resources and treatment for this therapy to those who need and seek it.  Whether it is covered leaving a copay, costing nothing through Medicaid and basing cost on income, these incredible and VERY effective method of counseling, along with medication therapy, has truly made our ability to treat people with such diverse and multi-layered illness, more advanced and more accessible toda in 205 than it has ever been before. 

11.  Overall, The actions of Suboxone to an addict or a dependant person, reduces if not eliminates cravings and suppresses the painful symptoms of withdrawal, which until this treatment was available, was the number 1 cause of relapse and non-adherence to patient compliance thus a low outcome rate of patients completing their treatment program. With those 2 pieces now solved, scientifically proven and advances in a clinical setting, makes full recovery a real, tangible result with highly efficient medical breakthroughs and resources.

The White House has outlined an easy to read, full list of great information & Great Resources for American seeking the right Links and Organizations to Assist Families to Find Treatment through a Treatment Locator and much more:
These free resources provide more information about Medication-Assisted Treatment:
• Clinical Guidelines for the Use of Buprenorphine in the Treatment of Opioid Addiction
• Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction: Facts for Family & Friends
• NIDA Info Facts: Treatment Approaches to Drug Addiction
 Medication Assisted Therapy Toolkit
• SAMHSA Treatment Locator 1-800-662-HELP

For More Information About Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Visit The National Association of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapists
For more information, please visit
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Erika Cormier, author of  the memoir, "As the Smoke Clears", understands first hand that addiction isn't always a "visible" disease.  She has dedicated her life to helping other women suffering from addiction and has drafted a bill to place caps on the high cost of outpatient addiction-related services.

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