There is often a fine line between treatment of addiction and exacerbation of addiction when legal pharmaceuticals intended to alleviate addiction in turn become abused by non-prescribed users. In the case of using opioids (medications to relieve pain such as legal pharmaceuticals Vicodin, OxyContin and hydrocodone, and also the illegal drug heroin) an ongoing use of it causes brain abnormalities to develop that restructure, or rewire, the brain to become dependent or addicted to opioid. Pharmaceuticals have been proven to be effective in treating brain abnormalities underlying addiction, but there is an ever-rising concern that these very medications invite new addictions thereby giving the effect of giving with one hand and taking away with the other, thus compromising the entire goal of treating addiction and potentially increasing the American drug epidemic.
Did you know that over three million Americans have been prescribed Suboxone (pharmaceutical name is buprenorphine) for the treatment of opioid addiction, including heroin. But in 2010 alone, approximately seven million Americans unlawfully used prescription medications for non-medical purposes. And while suboxone and methadone have achieved successful results such as diminishing withdrawal symptoms and lessening the cravings for drugs there are certain concerns for both. With suboxone one of the most compelling concerns surrounding opioid treatment is the manufacture of the opioids themselves which results in the availability of these drugs to the public. For instance, incidents of emergency room visits due to Suboxone complications rose tenfold from 2005 to 2010, with 3,161 and 30,135 hospital intakes respectively. And while research surveys show that Suboxone is rarely deadly, deaths resulting from methadone are alarmingly on the rise. From 1999 to 2005, methadone-poisoning deaths increased by 486 percent compared to a 66-percent increase in all deaths due to overall poisoning.
Highlighted by additional statistics and infographics, the article goes into great detail about the following:
- The difference between opiods, opiates and opium
- Safeguards that can be implemented to curb the dangers of Suboxone such as developing drug-testing apparatuses that are sensitive to Suboxone detection
- Detailing measure put into place to temper the increase in methadone-poisoning deaths: such as develop technologies to better test patient toxicity levels.
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