There is one thing certain about heroin: it’s destructive. It affects not only the user but families, the workplace, healthcare costs, and public safety – in short, the very fabric of our society. It runs through veins and lives with utter abandon and not only destroys quality of life but in time, life itself. Less certain in the minds of some – and up for debate – are the most effective methodologies in the treatment of heroin use.
The use of Medical Assisted Treatment (MAT) has exploded in popularity over the last couple of years, specifically the use of Suboxone, which has the active ingredient buprenorphine. Buprenorphine is a partial opiate agonist. In theory, it is supposed to partially bind with opiate receptors preventing the individual from getting “high” on heroin and other powerful opiates while only causing a slight amount of euphoria for the individual. Also, in theory, when the dosage of buprenorphine is increased by the individual in attempts to get “higher” they will not gain the euphoria that are seeking.
Those of us who are on the front lines have a different perception of this theory or what science has told us what to believe. What we have seen are dramatic increases in both men and women addicted to Suboxone as their new primary drug. In fact, the vast majority of the heroin users that come into our detox units have tried Suboxone treatment before trying The Healing Place. We have found the detox from Suboxone to be very much more prolonged compared to heroin causing a client backlog in our program. Buprenorphine is covered under the Affordable Care Act, so every addict has the decision to try this as a treatment option.
The Lexington Herald-Leader recently published an article on Suboxone treatment. The prescribing of Suboxone has skyrocketed over the last few years due to the heroin epidemic that has scourged this state. According to the article, Kentucky officials claim that the prescribing of Suboxone “has increased 241% since 2012 and 80% of the prescriptions for it were being written by 20% of the state's 470 certified prescribers.”
One typically has primary drug addiction, but we must always be cognizant that most addicts suffer from polysubstance abuse or polysubstance dependence – using whatever, whenever it is available. To successfully treat addiction we must realize that the underlying issues must be addressed within the individual and not simply focus on temporary harm reduction. Remember: our addiction is our response to the world around us and our inability to cope within that world.
The Healing Place has a philosophy of treating all drugs of addiction in the same manner: total abstinence. We believe that a spiritual solution is the means to long-term sobriety. Our philosophy incorporates accountability, selflessness, structure, and the development of positive behaviors. We do accept that our methods are not the only way to get sober, but we are committed to continue using the philosophies which have garnered us worldwide acclaim for successful outcomes and restored lives.
These methods have been the foundation of The Healing Place for more than 25 years. Our model has spawned tens of thousands of success stories and there is a reason The Healing Place has been recognized nationally as a Program That Works. With respect to alternative methods of treatment, we will stay the course on this established and proven path. We will continue to focus on reaching those in need and offer them a new design for living.
Posted on June 26, 2015
by Marla Highbaugh filed under