Are people on Suboxone sober? With the opioid epidemic raging, the battle against heroin and opiate addiction continues to increase. The number of people entering treatment for opioid dependency continues to rise. The way the addiction industry, doctors, psychiatrists, and detoxes treat opioid addiction has shifted in the last decade.
The trend is leaning towards Medication-Assisted Treatment, specifically replacement therapy. Methadone, which has been around for decades, has been controversial in its effectiveness. Studies and results focusing on the long-term results of Methadone on abstinence from other opioids have varied. Arguments exists as well about whether Methadone can be abused or used to “get high”.
Two Sides to the Issue
This posts deals specifically about Buprenorphine, commonly prescribed as Suboxone or Subutex, and the questions it raises about medication and sobriety. As with most ‘controversial’ topics, there are two sides to the issue. First I will explain the stringent or sobriety purists view on people taking Suboxone. There are indeed people and members of 12 step groups who will claim that people on medication-assisted treatment, such as Buprenorphine are not sober. This has caused tension between addiction specialists, chronic pain patients, and recovery programs. Here is why some may believe that people taking Suboxone or Subutex are not actually sober.
(Caution: These are not my own, nor NewBridge Recovery’s, personal opinions, and the views presented here are gathered from various outside sources) In the strictest sense of the word, sobriety is the continued absence of any psychoactive drug usage. Now Buprenorphine or Suboxone is a narcotic drug, as recognized by the medical and health community. It is a controlled substance and has a “high risk for addiction and dependence”. To be more specific, it is a partial opioid agonist, which means it affects the brain in many of the same ways that other narcotic opioids like hydrocodone and heroin do.
Medications Can Lead to Mental and Physical Dependency