Every year in the United States, 17,000 people die from opiate overdose. Heroin use is on the rise in recent years; 669,000 people used heroin in 2012, compared to just 373,000 people in 2007. People who have abused prescription painkillers are 19 times more likely to become addicted to heroin, and four out of five new heroin users have abused prescription painkillers in the past.
The need for accessible and effective heroin addiction treatment programs is clear. Heroin addiction treatment with buprenorphine, an opiate addiction maintenance drug, is safe and effective.
What is Buprenorphine and How Does It Work for Heroin Addiction Treatment?
Buprenorphine is an opiate maintenance drug used in heroin addiction treatment. It’s a partial opiate agonist that works on the brain’s mu-opiate receptors. These receptors are responsible for the pain relief and euphoric effects of opiates like heroin, morphine, oxycodone, dilaudid, and other opiate drugs. Because buprenorphine is a partial opiate agonist, it activates the mu-opiate receptor only partially. This makes it effective for heroin addiction treatment, because it relieves withdrawal symptoms, but makes it safer than the heroin addiction treatment drug methadone, because there’s less potential for abuse, overdose, respiratory depression and death.
Isn’t Using Buprenorphine for Heroin Addiction Treatment Just Replacing One Addiction with Another?
Many opponents of maintenance medication for heroin addiction treatment claim the therapy just replaces one addiction with another and therefore isn’t a real heroin addiction treatment. In fact, the use of maintenance drugs for heroin addiction treatment doesn’t stem from the same kind of compulsive behavior that addictive use of heroin does. The drugs used in heroin addiction treatment programs do not create the same feelings of euphoria and reward that reinforce drug seeking and use behaviors in the addict. That’s what makes the difference between using opiates recreationally and using them for heroin addiction treatment.
On the contrary, heroin addiction treatment with buprenorphine removes the physical need for heroin and, by extension, ends compulsive drug-seeking behaviors. Over time, the person in a heroin addiction treatment program will receive less and less buprenorphine. The goal of heroin addiction treatment is to end drug use of any kind.
While the media love to report scary stories of the “dark side” of heroin addiction treatment, most people taking buprenorphine for heroin addiction treatment are able to return to their normal lives immediately. They can hold down a job, go to school, fulfill their family obligations. These tales of heroin addiction treatment success are largely ignored because they aren’t sensational enough to make headlines.
Why Is Buprenorphine Better than Methadone?
The Drug Abuse Treatment Act of 2000 allows buprenorphine to be dispensed in a primary care office by a qualified physician. This alone makes heroin addiction treatment with buprenorphine more accessible than heroin addiction treatment with methadone. It can be hard to get to a methadone clinic because they’re banned in many neighborhoods, and the time it takes to travel to a clinic, receive your dose of methadone, and go through mandatory drug testing and counseling in the highly structured clinic environment can make it impossible to hold down a regular job or go to school while on methadone maintenance for heroin addiction treatment.
On the other hand, when you choose buprenorphine for heroin addiction treatment, you can receive a prescription in the privacy of a doctor’s office and take your medication home with you to use on your own schedule. No one even needs to know that you’re taking buprenorphine for heroin addiction treatment. This makes it an especially good option for the many who fear career damage or other consequences if it’s discovered that they’re receiving heroin addiction treatment.
Heroin addiction treatment with buprenorphine is also safer than methadone. It works longer in the body than methadone, so it can be administered as often as once a day or as seldom as a few times a week. It keeps heroin and other opiate drugs from working. Finally, it’s much less likely to have lethal side effects.
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction to heroin or other opiate drugs, treatment is available. Call The Delray Center for Healing today at 1-888-699-5679 to learn more about our affordable heroin addiction treatment options.