Table of Contents
- 1 Video Transcript
- 2 My Background with Suboxone
- 3 Suboxone Benefits
- 4 Negative Aspects of Suboxone
- 5 Suboxone Prescribers
- 6 The Dark Side of Suboxone
- 7 Suboxone Questions and Answers
- 8 Suboxone Regrets
- 9 To Each Their Own
- 10 Suboxone is a Big Decision
[Start of Audio] [00:00]
Hey, this is Matt and welcome to this training video. The opioid epidemic is just growing more and more out of control. And more people now than ever before are asking themselves the question:
“Should I get on Suboxone?”
It’s a very common question.
I was on Suboxone in the past.
So many people have been on it.
It’s a very, very popular medicine.
So this video is going to talk about some of the potential benefits and some of the potential negative consequences of Suboxone, how to decide whether the medicine is right for you or not, and really… it’s just a brief overview video.
Don’t watch this video and just from this video alone, decide to get on Suboxone or decide not to take it.
This is just to give you some information.
It’s the same as a bunch of the other information out there.
My Background with Suboxone
But you know, I have a unique perspective in that I took Suboxone for opiate addiction many years ago, and then I also worked as a counselor at an Opiate Treatment Program that was outpatient, where the downstairs was a methadone clinic and upstairs was an evening Suboxone clinic.
So I did intakes and helped people transition onto Suboxone, and I also helped them transition off of it.
So I’ve worked with a lot of different people.
Now, I’m an Opiate Recovery Coach.
So I got a lot of experience with this medicine.
So let’s get into the benefits of Suboxone first…
So for most people, when you take Suboxone to get off opioids, you can avoid going through the acute opioid withdrawal.
And since you’re still on an opioid (in Suboxone the main ingredient is buprenorphine, which is a partial opioid agonist)… that means that you’re not going to be going through post-acute withdrawal while you’re on it either, because technically your opioid receptors in your brain, spinal cord, intestines, and other areas, they still have opioids in there.
So essentially what it does when you transition off of say, for instance, oxycodone, or heroin, or hydrocodone, and you get on Suboxone, then you’re going to avoid the acute opioid withdrawal from detoxing.
And you’re going to not have to go through post-acute withdrawal, at least while you’re still taking the Suboxone medicine.
And now these are for most people too.
This is not 100%.
But the majority of people that transition on Suboxone, they don’t get physical cravings to use pills or heroin or whatever opioids they were using before.
And Suboxone also has the potential to take away all psychological cravings as well.
Very easy for it to take away the physical cravings, a little bit harder to take away the psychological cravings for people with severe opioid dependence.
But if you get the dosage right, and your body responds well to the medicine, it can take away all cravings across the board.
Negative Aspects of Suboxone
So some of the most common negative consequences of Suboxone are they can have side effects. Some people just get mild side effects.
Like when I was on it, I had no libido, I had kind of like this red flushed skin, and I had dry skin too, and I had “backne,” that’s acne on my back, the cystic acne on there.
Other than those side effects, which were mild, the face thing was kind of embarrassing, but I didn’t care… it gave me lots of energy.
I didn’t have any cravings to use pills, no physical withdrawal symptoms, and boy; it just gave me so much confidence and energy and motivation.
I was able to crush it.
I was a cook at a fast paced restaurant in New York, and when I would wake up every morning and take Suboxone with a really strong cup of coffee and a cigarette… I was a machine at work.
I was just like, would crush it.
So those were just mild side effects for me.
Some people get moderate side effects.
And then in some cases, people get severe side effects from Suboxone.
And unfortunately, there’s no way to tell which type of person you’ll be until you get on the medicine.
For some people, the side effects are just at the beginning, and then they go away after a while.
But for other people, there’s no side effects at the beginning or nothing that they care about, and then as time goes on, they start to get more side effects and more severe side effects.
So, yeah, the only way to know is to actually get on the medicine to see whether you’re going to be one of the people with small and mild symptoms or severe ones or multiple, multiple symptoms.
And this is not 100% — all these things, by the way, is not 100% across the board.
This is just very common situations.
So many people say that it stops working as well after using it long term.
I was only on it for a few months.
So it worked just as well the whole time for me.
But I constantly get clients that have been taking Suboxone for many, many years — some people as much as 10 to 15 years — and a lot of them will say that the same benefits they got at the beginning — like the energy and the motivation, the anti-craving — they say that after a couple of years depending on the person — it might be one year, some people might take several years — but a lot of people are saying that it doesn’t work as well, once they’re on it long term.
It’s not doing the same magic that it had its beginning.
And this is something they might not tell you when you go to a doctor or a treatment program. The outpatient treatment program has a doctor or a private practice physician prescribing Suboxone, this stuff can be so difficult to come off, and for some people, it can be seemingly impossible.
Yeah, the treatment centers, they’re really quick to — not all of them, but a lot of them are really quick to say, “Well, you know, you give a diabetic insulin and you give an opioid addicts Suboxone.”
So they really believe — a lot of them believe that this is what your brain needs.
And they say that if you want to come off in the future, you can just taper off and the taper process will alleviate withdrawal symptoms.
Well, anybody that has ever been on Suboxone for even as short as a few months and especially longer will tell you that it’s actually, for most people, it’s a lot more difficult than this.
And it can still be seemingly impossible for some people, especially when you’ve been on it for multiple years… then coming off of it is a really giant obstacle.
So I just want you to — I made this video to give a brief overview, but this is probably the most education I want to get out there –that this medicine is an amazing medicine, and it does help so many people, it helped me, it has helped so many people get their lives back together and really, really quit opiates for good and be productive members of society and not have to worry about running out of pills or heroin or whatever they’re taking.
So I really think this is an amazing medicine, but I also want to provide the “Dark Side of Suboxone.”
And so then you can make a more educated decision.
The Dark Side of Suboxone
There’s a dark side. There’s also a negative stigma for being on an Opiate Replacement Medication. Now, if you’re on methadone that’s got the biggest stigma associated with it.
But Suboxone also has a stigma.
It’s not as big as methadone, but just know that if you decide to get on Suboxone, most people won’t really care, but there’s a lot of people, maybe people that you love, maybe family, maybe friends, maybe a wife or a husband or girlfriend or boyfriend — not a lot of people understand.
And a lot of people will judge a person for being on an Opiate Replacement Medication.
It’s just the big stigma associated with it.
So just know that there could be that in your life if you decide to get on it.
Suboxone Questions and Answers
Now we’re going to go into some questions and answers. So these are just some common ones, and there’s a lot more than this, but these are the ones I thought would be the best for this video.
Is Suboxone trading one addiction for another?
A lot of people will tell you “Yes, it’s just using the same thing. It’s still an opioid. It’s still powerful. You’re just trading one addiction for the other.”
I don’t believe that.
And by the way, this video isn’t to convince you of believing what I believe or to not believe what you believe.
It’s basically just giving you both sides of the stories on all these things.
I’ll tell you my take on it, certainly.
But you know, do your own research, come to your own conclusions, be skeptical.
I don’t think that it’s trading one addiction for another because I’ve witnessed firsthand personally how it helped me get my life back together, at least short term, I ended up — after I got off Suboxone I ended up relapsing later down the line.
But for those few months, I was able to stop stealing money.
I was able to stop putting my musical equipment.
I was able to stop lying to people to let me borrow money.
I remember lying saying I needed money to go buy formula to feed my baby and really I was going to buy OxyContin.
Back then they were the OCs, the ones that you could crush up and snort.
And they were about $30 to $40 for a 40 milligram OC… so very expensive.
With Suboxone, I was able to — a mere fraction of the cost… and I only needed to use it once or twice a day.
And it helped me do really good at work.
And I didn’t think about using pills anymore.
So I don’t think it’s trading one addiction for another, personally.
But a lot of people do.
A lot of people think — they believe in “Total Abstinence” based.
So abstinence-based thinking is come off all drugs, all opioids, all alcohol, any illegal, illicit drugs, and even prescription Opiate Replacement Medication.
So it’s a total abstinence based where there’s no drug use at all… total abstinence.
I come from a Harm Reduction background working at a clinic that had Suboxone and Subutex and methadone, so… and I saw how well and statistics also show that Medication-Assisted Treatment does cut down on the overdose rates, the incarcerations, the treatment admissions, and the sexually transmitted diseases.
So I think — and I’ve seen so many people just really be down and out in life, and then get on Suboxone and just start crushing it almost immediately.
So that’s my belief on that.
Will Suboxone get me high?
Well, the first time I ever used it, believe it or not, the first time I used Suboxone, I wasn’t even an opiate addict at the time. For about 10 years, I had used prescription opiates, only recreationally.
I had never got addicted.
Whenever they were around, I would buy a pill or two or maybe even three or four or five if there was that many pills and I had enough money, depending on the mood I was in.
But I was able to use them just really innocently for 10 years recreationally.
And so at this point when a friend of mine said she had an eight milligram Suboxone tablet, I had never heard of that in my entire life.
It was not long after I moved to New York.
Gosh, I think this was back in 2007.
It was a long time ago
I don’t think it was 2007.
Yeah, it might have been as early as 2007.
Anyways, she was like, “You’re not on opiates right now, right?”
I said, “No.”
She’s like, “Good. Because if you use this when you’re on opiates, it’s going to make you really sick. And you’re going to go into this precipitated withdrawal.”
I was clueless about all this stuff back then.
But I told her no, and then we went up to her apartment.
It was after we’d been drinking in a bar and she crushed up just the tiniest little line.
I mean, it was probably one-fifteenth of the pill.
It was such a little line, and I did a line of it.
I snorted it up my nose, and I got higher off that thing, that one tiny little sliver of Suboxone, snorting it.
That got me so euphoric, so high, so much energy, so much confidence.
I was just like, “Holy moly.”
And so she ended up selling me one of her pills, and that lasted me several days.
I was snorting that thing left and right.
But I didn’t get addicted at that point.
But, so for a user that has no opioid dependence, like me that just uses recreationally, Suboxone can absolutely get you high as a kite.
Now, if you’re using Suboxone for opiate addiction, it’s a lot harder because Suboxone only goes to 32 milligrams and then there’s a ceiling.
The “Ceiling Effect” means that if you use more than that, it doesn’t have any more effects.
So if you’re opioid dependent, typically Suboxone just helps prevent withdrawal symptoms, and it does not get you high.
Now, if you had kind of a mild opioid dependence and you got put on a high dose of Suboxone, in that case, you could get high.
But what you want to do if you choose to go this route is you want to be on a “Therapeutic Dose.”
I describe a Therapeutic Dose as just enough Suboxone to get rid of the withdrawal symptoms and the cravings and then no more.
You got to find that sweet spot.
Where if you’re undermedicated you’re going to have maybe some withdrawal symptoms and probably some cravings, but if you get that just right level then you won’t get high on it, and you won’t get sick.
Will Suboxone give me energy?
I did an article on this a long time ago because so many people were asking that. They’re like, “Hey, do you notice that Suboxone gives you energy?”
Some people get really tired on Suboxone.
And I felt bad for those people because this stuff was the energy that I’d always been looking for in my adult life.
Remember when we’re kids, and we’ve just got so much energy just — man, when I was a kid, and even a teenager, shoot, even in my early 20s, I had energy all day, every day.
So Suboxone gave me that just crazy energy back.
The only way to know if it’ll give you energy is to try it out.
Like I said, some people, it makes them tired, some people it gives them energy, some people it gives them tons of energy.
It’s like this hypomania, which I did a video on that too… The Opiate-Energy Addiction Connection; talking about the energy boost that opioids give a lot of people.
And then some people don’t notice that they’re tired or energized from it.
They just feel normal, like literally Suboxone just makes them feel normal.
They don’t want to use; they love it.
Will I still want to use while on it?
Well, it depends. This is on a case by case basis. What I’ve found is that some people, no matter what even if they’re on a high dose of methadone, they still want to use.
This is typically people that are IV heroin users.
But I’ve also seen people on methadone and Suboxone that still will use on top of it.
And in fact, I did once too.
It was when I didn’t have that much Suboxone in my system, and my friend was crushing up Percocet.
And so I snorted.
It didn’t get me high, but I definitely felt just a little tiny boost in my mood.
But it wasn’t nearly the same feeling.
So some people still do want to get high on it, even if they’re on the highest dose, even if it’s getting rid of the physical cravings because some people still get that psychological obsession.
It’s all about this obsession to use.
So if you’re on the right dosage of it, first of all, if this medicine is right for your situation, for instance, some people would do better on methadone if they’ve got a really severe say, for instance, they’ve been using IV heroin in massive amounts for several years.
Somebody going over onto Suboxone from that is probably still going to want to use on it.
It would probably take a good dose of methadone for someone like that if they were going to do Medication-Assisted Treatment.
But I never had the craving to use on it.
And a lot of people don’t.
A lot of people on Suboxone do not want to use while they’re on it, but some people do.
It’s definitely common.
And so yeah, I said, this is just going to be a brief overview.
We could talk for hours and hours and hours on this very debatable subject.
But I just want to conclude that many people are glad they got on Suboxone for opiate addiction.
And then I also want to say that many people wish they never got on it.
A lot of people tell me like, “I wish that I would have just gone through the short term agony of getting off the short-acting opioid and then had my like — just suffered through a few weeks or something like that of the acute withdrawal than the post-acute withdrawal or maybe, you know as long as it took, even if it took six weeks to start feeling better or 12 weeks.”
A lot of people wish that they went through that process rather than here they are 15 years later and then trying to come off Suboxone.
Makes coming off 60 milligrams of Oxycodone seem like a “walk in the park.”
To Each Their Own
And so I’m also going to say here that every person’s situation is different. Everybody’s situation is unique.
So I say “to each their own.”
Somebody wants to get on a medicine, and they believe that it’s good for them, then go for it.
I’m not going to judge anybody.
I’m not going to tell them, “Hey, there’s only one way to recover from addiction, and that’s Total Abstinence.”
Or if somebody wants to go the Total Abstinence route, I wouldn’t say like, “Oh, Harm Reduction is the only way to go. You’ve got to use these powerful medicines. That’s the way to get clean.”
No, no, no.
It’s like going to Baskin Robbins 31 flavors.
They got all these different flavors.
It’s not like chocolate is the only flavor for everybody.
It’s not like gold medal ribbon — I love that — is the only flavor.
There’s 31 flavors.
So that’s how I view addiction recovery.
There’s 31 flavors or more, all these different options and choices you can do.
And since people’s situations are different, their values are different, their beliefs are different, their knowledge is different, their culture could be different… all these things come into play.
Suboxone is a Big Decision
So again, don’t just decide to either get on Suboxone or not get on Suboxone simply from watching this video. It’s just good to get information from a lot of different sources.
Really, this is a big decision to be making.
So do yourself a favor and do your due diligence, talk to some people, talk to professionals, read articles, watch more videos.
Really get a lot of sides of the story because each person you talk to about it is probably going to talk about in a little bit different way.
So that’s what I’d recommend doing.
And again, this is Matt, founder of opiateaddictionsupport.com.
If you enjoyed this video, please give it a “Like,” and if you haven’t already, go ahead and Subscribe and I’ll see you on the next training video.
[End of Audio] [20:28]