Is Suboxone Really a Solution for Recovery or Does it Perpetuate the Problem?

Part 2 of the series Suboxone: Salvation for the Addicted or Seriously Flawed Solution?

In Part 1 of this series, we took at look at the reasons many doctors and addiction recovery professionals recommend the use of buprenorphine products like Suboxone in the treatment of addiction. It turns out that the advocates for this kind of treatment don’t necessarily tell the whole story to the public or families making a choice about rehab.

Here are more reasons that Suboxone may be a seriously flawed solution.

  • It’s possible to fatally overdose on buprenorphine formulas, an outcome that becomes even more likely if the individual tries mixing it with another drug such as a benzodiazepine (Valium, Xanax, Librium, etc.). It’s impossible to get an accurate figure for these overdose deaths because agencies may not test for this specific drug after an overdose death or track deaths from this cause.
  • Rather than being distributed on a daily basis in clinics in rundown sections of town, Suboxone is dispensed from doctor’s offices. But certification as a Suboxone prescriber seems to attract troubled practitioners. The New York Times noted that these doctors run into disciplinary problems far more often than the average doctor. In New York, they were six times as likely to have been disciplined. In Louisiana, they were 10 times as likely.
  • As well, doctors certified to prescribe buprenorphine are only required to complete eight hours of online training. The Washington Post reported that out of more than 900,000 doctors, only about 1,200 are trained in addiction medicine. But 33,000 doctors have been certified to dispense buprenorphine products. Does an eight-hour online training course qualify these doctors to guide the addicted through their recoveries? Or is it just enough training to be able to prescribe drugs?
Those taking Suboxone experience a blunting of their emotions.
  • The individual who turns to Suboxone or another buprenorphine product does not get to experience life without mind-dulling and emotion-deadening drugs. Since some doctors have no intention of weaning their patients off these drugs, patients may suffer these deadening effects for the rest of their lives. One doctor interviewed by the New York Times stated that his patients would be on this formula “maybe forever.” This is not an uncommon practice. Dr. Scanlan described the emotional effect this way: “A lesser dose of Suboxone (2 mg a day) will block an estimated 80 percent of a person's feelings, while higher doses can make a patient practically numb.”

To make the damaging effects of this drug even clearer, here are excerpts from the statement of a Narconon graduate who got off all drugs at our facility in Florida:

“The first time I tried Subs I wasn’t a full-blown heroin addict yet. I actually got Suboxone from my drug dealer. I actually got really, really high from it and spent the next twelve hours nodding in and out…
“After finding myself badly addicted to heroin, I went online and searched for ‘Suboxone Doctors’ and made an appointment with the cheapest one.
“When I would stop taking [Suboxone], the withdrawals were ten times worse than trying to kick heroin and lasted much longer. The physicians and ‘street doctors’ never warned me about that little tidbit. Suboxone didn’t handle my addiction AT ALL. It just helped me trade one drug for another and kept me from getting sick. In actuality, it did nothing but perpetuate and further my addiction. I became addicted to BOTH heroin and Suboxone.”
It is possible to be happy and recover from addiction without substitute medications.

This individual and many others like him have discovered that they could break free from their dependence on any drug at a Narconon drug rehab center. The Narconon program is 100% drug-free and uses healthy, natural methods of helping each person recover from the cravings for more drugs. Life skill strengthening is an essential component of this program, since knowing how to engage with life and cope with its challenges is vital to prevent relapse.

Learn a different way to recover from addiction—the Narconon way that has been helping the addicted live healthier, more productive lives for more than 50 years. Call Narconon International at 1-800-775-8750 today to get help for yourself or someone you care about.

Click here to read Part 1 of this series.


Karen Hadley

For more than a decade, Karen has been researching and writing about drug trafficking, drug abuse, addiction and recovery. She has also studied and written about policy issues related to drug treatment.