Over 2 million people in the United States have abused opioids, which include prescription painkillers, heroin, and fentanyl. In spite of opioids being declared a public health crisis in 2017, the year that more than 47,000 people died of opioid abuse, about 130 people a day still die from an opioid overdose.
Although many people think that misuse of opioids is a sign of weakness, the truth is that addiction is a serious disease – one that is hard to treat. Back in the 1990s, doctors and patients alike didn’t know that prescription painkillers such as oxycodone and codeine had the potential to become addicting.
Doctors regularly prescribed these drugs for surgeries, chronic pain, dental procedures, and injuries. It soon became clear that these drugs could, in fact, be addictive as overdose rates began to climb.
What is opioid addiction?
Opioids help minimize pain. They can create feelings of euphoria, and that makes people want to keep taking them. When people misuse opioids and take more than prescribed, they can alter their brain chemistry by creating artificial feel-good hormones called endorphins.
Once the production of artificial endorphins kicks in, your body stops producing them naturally. Eventually, people become addicted to painkillers because their body needs more and more of these opioids to feel good, as your body builds up a tolerance to the drug.
Signs of addiction include seeking out the drug at all costs because your body and mind need it to function. Drug use increases over time, and it begins to affect other areas of your life. Drug addiction can lead to problems with work, family, health, finances, and the police.
How Suboxone can help treat opioid addiction
Opioid addiction is a complex problem. Effective treatment needs to address both the psychological and physical problems of addiction. Suboxone, which is a medication that combines naloxone and buprenorphine, can be part of an effective treatment. It can help you reduce your cravings for opioids while you slowly wean yourself off them.
Suboxone is a prescription medicine used specifically to help people with opioid addictions. The medication blocks the euphoric effects of opioids and also suppresses withdrawal symptoms and cravings for opiates.
Dr. Lori Scott combines Suboxone therapy with education and behavioral therapy to help you fight opioid addiction on all fronts. As your strength builds and your addiction subsides, she will slowly wean you from this drug.
Suboxone is a long-acting medication, administered in sublingual film strip pill form to be dissolved under your tongue only once a day. Using Suboxone has about double the success rate of going cold turkey.
If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, Dr. Scott can develop a personalized treatment plan that includes Suboxone to help you kick your addiction and return to a healthy, drug-free life.
For more information on suboxone and to find out if this therapy can help you or a loved one fight opioid addiction, call addiction medicine specialist Dr. Lori Scott in Kinston, North Carolina, or make an appointment online.