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My perspective on going the pharmaceutical route (i.e. Methadone, Suboxone, Naltrexone)

Discussion in 'Opiate Withdrawal Treatment' started by Kalb13, Apr 19, 2015.

  1. Kalb13

    Kalb13 Member

    For many opiate addicts (including myself), 12 step programs and spiritualality-based recovery models have produced zero to minimal results, even with great effort and the strongest resolution, relapse has always been pretty much inevitable. There is another way, but you have to really understand what you're getting into. There are 3 basic ways you can go with medicinal (pharma) therapy:

    METHADONE: If you don't see yourself ever really getting "straight" but can't survive on the streets anymore, find a doctor or medical group that provides methadone. If you do get on methadone, NEVER USE HEROIN (or any other opiate) BEFORE/DURING/AFTER. This is a lethal recipe.

    SUBOXONE/SUBUTEX: This is only for people who truly, desperately want to stop. You have to be willing to try something new, but this will ALMOST completely take away your withdrawal symptoms and will not make you feel high if taken at the right dose. Attempting to use heroin or heavy opiates on buprenorphine will still get you a little high, but will be accompanied by headaches and nausea, and possibly fatal results. It's incredibly dangerous, but not like combining methadone and other opiates. Personally, I've been on suboxone for almost two years and have settled with it. I do not get high or have to deal with the horrors of addiction any more.

    Naltrexone: This is only for the MOST resolute recovering addict. Maybe you've been on suboxone for awhile and know yourself well enough to know you are truly done (therapy will also help you find this out) It's imperative that you are ABSOLUTELY SURE you will not use again because Naltrexone is taken as a once a month injection and will make you extremely sick if you attempt to use ANY depressants (INCLUDING alcohol) If you are not sure, DO NOT GET ON Naltrexone (unless you are a crazy masochist.)

    I hope my experience and opinions help you decide which route is best for you if you decide to go with pharmacology as a way out (remember though, there are many options, you are never alone!)
    IrishHeather, Zyni and pineywood like this.
  2. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion


    Yes, this helped me understand more. You clearly outline the differences. I like how you get right to the point saying what it can and can not do or more specifically what you should or should not do when choosing one of these options! Really, thanks for taking the time to outline these options. I am sure, this description is going to help a whole lot of people understand the pharmacology route options, myself included. No, I am not an addict, but it will help me be able to help others!
  3. Kalb13

    Kalb13 Member

    Thanks, I hope I can help someone with my opinion. I was trying to let people know which option is better suited for different kinds of addicts. A person can function highly on buprenorphine(suboxone/subutex) at say an office or work environment. Methadone, not so much...but that's not to say it hasnt been done) They don't give you this kind of advice on most drug web sites, so although it's just one guy's opinion, I have seen and experienced a LOT in the world of opiates and if that can genuinely help someone then I'm glad something positive came from my "checkered past"...or "sordid youth", if you will
    pineywood likes this.
  4. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion

    Yeah, you really did help me out. To hear from someone with first hand experience laying it all out the line, is a big deal and much appreciated. I hope, if you feel like it, that you share more information on your experiences. Not for other people to judge you, but to learn. But that is only if you are comfortable doing so. I would not want you to talk about anything that brought up any past issues or experiences that caused any mind games on you today. I give you a lot of credit to come here and say what you did already, and to remain off opiates for two years is a an huge accomplishment!!!!!! So, thank you for sharing!
  5. kana_marie

    kana_marie Community Champion

    It would have been so much easier if I had access to those drugs. I think there's an advantage to cold turkey, though. It's hard but once its done, its done (physically). I compare it to taking off a band aid.
  6. JohnBeaulieu

    JohnBeaulieu Community Champion

    Medical approaches do appear to have some success but you have to be just as committed to recovery as you would with a 12 step program. I have heard that some people choose aversion therapy over medication but I'm not sure how well it actually works.
  7. AleFirmani

    AleFirmani Member

    For people with dual diagnosis issues I think a medical management treatment is the most successful route. I have shared my story elsewhere on the forums but I am a dual diagnosed bipolar addict with a little over two years clean on a methadone management treatment. My psychiatrist at my methadone clinic is also responsible for my psychiatric medications so I never have to worry about this doctor knowing this and that doctor knowing that.
    Many people use opiates to self medicate and that was certainly the case for me. Opiates numb pain physically but they also numb emotional pain. After years of opiate abuse the brain loses the ability to produce opiates itself like it should and in SOME addicts their opiate receptors were never firing off correctly even before their addiction to opiates. Once again, I certainly think this was the case for me and no matter how many times I tried to get clean without medicinal therapy it never stuck. It would take years to repair the damage I have done to my opiate receptors and then we are left still dealing with a bipolar brain.
    I do not want to be on methadone forever and I am tapering down my dose but if it comes down to it, if I find I cannot live my life in a normal manner when the methadone is taken away entirely, I have no problem going back on a low maintenance dose to ensure my sanity. A life on methadone is not that horrible. I DO NOT get high in anyway nor do I ever abuse my methadone. It saved my life and that is no lie.
    Monique1 likes this.
  8. kana_marie

    kana_marie Community Champion

    It took a medical approach for me. I was the poster child for self medication. There was no way I would have gotten clean and stayed that way until I was properly medicated and dealing with my issues.
  9. Suboxone is an extremely double-edged sword. In my experience, it was my saving grace, allowing me to quit taking opiates after nearly five years of daily abuse. However, my doctor stated when I was ready to stop taking suboxone we would begin the tapering process and I would have no withdrawals whatsoever. How wrong he was. Kicking suboxone turned out to be exponentially harder than kicking opiates in my opinion. Near the end, I had tapered down to taking less than .5mg a day. When I eventually went cold turkey after weeks of .5mg it was as if I was instantly transported back to my opiate withdrawal days. I credit suboxone with my recovery, but it is by no means the miracle drug I was pitched.
  10. kana_marie

    kana_marie Community Champion

    I agree about having to be 100% committed to quoting. But once you've taken that first step, no one can predict what's going to work for anyone else. I think that's what a good number of relapses are caused by... people trying to figure out what works for them.
  11. princepts

    princepts Member

    What is valuable is that options now exist for addicts. Treatment is something that society has recently acknowledged as an important weapon for those with substance abuse problems. My biggest wish was that we could eliminate all of the hard-liners, the fools who say "they should have never started using drugs.....they can just quit....quit....cold turkey....all they have to do is want it". I shake my head when I hear ranting idiots speak as if they trumpet precious advice. They have no compassion for addicts and are certain that an addict became so only because of a desire to get strung out or high. They shrug off the truth: most addicts developed the addiction because their drug of choice was a coping mechanism, an anesthetic to numb them from trauma and hurt. I doubt none of us just woke up one day and said "well, I think i'm going to start using drugs today....I want to get high". I have seen people who felt as if they were being smothered with hopelessness. They could hardly conjure up the strength to live because, in their mind, their existed no way out of the pit that substance abuse can easily lead. These same people receive promise when they discover that they can move forward. Hope is possible because although there are no cookie cutters, we are all unique - treatment options exist to meet the needs of unique people. If you are alive today because you had a choice, the blessing of receiving treatment, make the decision to eradicate the blindness that has befallen someone else. Tell someone about treatment. Addiction is a double-edged sword. Recovery gives us a cutting edge that can pierce the darkness that will destroy the precious life of another. We can cut through their hopelessness and convey the truth. Treatment exists. There are many options and there is promise and there exists a future for every single one of us.
  12. Monique1

    Monique1 Member

  13. Monique1

    Monique1 Member

    Why would heroin kill you if mixed,with methadone. My very first counsler told me I was going to have,to use in the begining until they got me to a stable dose. And when I am off methadone and use heroin will I die...not planning on it just a question