Category Archives: Suboxone

Pregnancy and Opioid Treatment

pregnancyWhen a woman is pregnant and addicted to opioids, she faces extraordinary stress and very often a wave of judgment from those around her that is emotionally painful and difficult to deal with. The criticism of others is understandable since no one wants to see an unborn baby placed at risk through the mother’s drug use. But this cauldron of angry emotion and public condemnation often overwhelms a pregnant mother, who may already feel guilty, and it pushes her further into isolation and inaction. This isolation only places the mother and unborn baby at greater risk of overdose and possible miscarriage.

Fact: It has been thoroughly researched and the findings conclusive that pregnant opioid-addicted women have a much better chance of carrying their baby to term and having a healthy baby when the mother is receiving medication-assisted treatment. Every day, addicted mothers receiving methadone or buprenorphine give birth to healthy babies that thrive and develop normally.

Methadone and buprenorphine (Subutex) are very different medications compared to heroin and painkillers like oxycodone. Heroin and painkillers manufactured for break-through pain act quickly, but also dissipate quickly. For those with an opioid addiction, this momentary relief from opioid withdrawal does not last long and they are back out there again desperately trying to find more heroin to avoid becoming sick.

With methadone or buprenorphine, mothers are medically stable and able to avoid debilitating cycles of withdrawal as well as the dangerous drug-seeking behaviors and lifestyle that put them and the baby at risk. A woman is already in a state of increased vulnerability when pregnant. If lonely, isolated and forced to go to the street to find dope or pills, she will find herself in dangerous situations and exposed to a drug culture that values money over human life.

This harsh reality is what some women face as they struggle to survive while carrying an unborn child. If in treatment at a methadone clinic or under the supervision of a caring physician who utilizes buprenorphine, the pregnant woman can start the process of personal recovery. She can avoid becoming sick from opioid withdrawal and avoid taking grave risks just to avoid that withdrawal. She can receive emotional support and medical assistance to maximize her health and that of the unborn baby. She can better prepare herself to be a good mom once the baby is born.

There are those who may indignantly exclaim “But the baby will be born addicted”. The reality is that it is much safer for a baby to be born to a mother receiving methadone or buprenorphine than for the baby to be repeatedly exposed to adulterated street heroin and combinations of drugs riddled with unknown contaminants. Think about that. Technically, the baby may be born with some physical dependency, but this is successfully managed all the time by medical professionals across the country. Buprenorphine has been found to have a milder withdrawal syndrome and is utilized successfully in helping infants comfortably detox. Methadone is successfully used for this purpose as well.

It is important to also make a distinction between “addiction” and “dependency”. They are not the same. “Addiction” encompasses the persistent craving for opiates, the mental preoccupation with securing them, and the inappropriate behaviors and lifestyle aberration that develop as people lose control over their ability to choose. “Dependency” can occur with anyone who has been using an opioid for a sustained period of time. Someone who has become “dependent” can readily taper off of the medication and will not be necessarily driven to obsess over drugs or desperately seek them. A baby who is born temporarily dependent on methadone or buprenorphine can be successfully tapered off of the medication. Obviously, a baby does not meet the definition of “addicted” so to use that term is technically inaccurate and misleads the public.

Finally, methadone and buprenorphine are safer for the baby. It’s ultimately about helping that unborn baby to develop normally in the womb and to be born alive, healthy, and with maximum opportunity for a good life. Chances are that the mother will indeed be that baby’s primary caretaker for a long time. It is much better that she be introduced to recovery and various avenues of support through methadone or buprenorphine treatment than to be left on her own with no support, little guidance, and struggling to find dope on a daily basis.

 

BHG Offering Methadone and Suboxone in Memphis

bhg-logoTennessee is a leading state in the incidence of opioid addiction and opioid overdose. This is most likely a direct result of Tennessee being ranked one of the country’s leading states for the prescription of opioids as well as benzodiazepines like xanax and klonopin.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) report that 46 people die every day in the United States from overdose on prescription painkillers. They also have documented that 259 million prescriptions for opioids were written in 2012 alone by U.S. healthcare providers. This stunning proliferation of opioids has sparked national concerns about opioid addiction and why painkillers have been made so readily available.

In Tennessee, Behavioral Health Group (BHG) have responded to the crisis by providing opioid treatment in a variety of Tennessee cities. They currently operate three clinics in Memphis: Memphis North, Memphis Mid-Town, and Memphis South Treatment Centers under the BHG banner.

BHG also have clinics in Knoxville, Nashville, Jackson, Paris, Columbia, and Dyersburg. The company’s locations all provide suboxone (buprenorphine) in addition to methadone to aid opioid addicted individuals in their effort to cope with powerful opiate withdrawal symptoms. BHG provide various forms of supportive counseling to their patients in conjunction with their medication-assisted treatment model.

While local and federal governments work to address the rise in opioid addiction, it remains very important that addicted individuals seek and find effective treatment as soon as possible. Those interested in participating in opioid treatment often have questions about the process of enrolling in treatment and what it is actually like receiving methadone or suboxone in a clinic setting. Methadone.US offers helpful information on our site for prospective patients that provides an overview of the opioid treatment enrollment process.

Naloxone Reverses Opioid Overdose and Saves Lives

naloxone-kitMore communities across the U.S. are facing the devastation of opioid overdose. The impact on families is profound as they often struggle with questions of “Could we have done more?” and ponder what else must be done to address this growing national epidemic.

Highlighted in the news this week was the heroin overdose death of a Louisville cheerleader and the suspected opioid overdose death of a 27 year old man in North Carolina found slumped behind the wheel of his pick-up truck with an empty bottle of painkillers and a spoon beside him.

Naloxone is an FDA-approved medication that reverses the effects of opioid overdose. It is an opioid antagonist and consequently knocks opiates off of the body’s opioid receptor sites thus reversing central nervous system and respiratory depression which are the most dangerous consequences of opioid overdose. In many cases, naloxone quickly restores breathing and allows overdose victims to regain consciousness in a relatively short period of time. Naloxone is administered by injection or intranasally as a mist.

An increasing number of emergency first responders are now carrying naloxone kits as are some police units in select areas of the country. Local government is now more involved too with new legislation having been proposed in the last year to dramatically increase funding for the provision of naloxone kits.

Ideally, naloxone will one day become readily available without prescription to anyone via their local pharmacy. There is no upside to politicizing something as beneficial as naloxone because it simply saves lives. Note that the medication itself produces no drug high.

Canadian Press Publishes Article on Benefits of Methadone

canadian-methadone-clinicsFurther validating the merits of opioid treatment using methadone is a recent article by The Canadian Press outlining the findings of Canada’s Medical Health Officer in British Columbia, Dr. Perry Kendall.

Dr. Kendall’s report documents that individuals in opioid substitution therapy are twice as likely to survive compared to those who obtain opioids illegally on the street. Those in opioid addiction therapy were also found to be much more cost effective to society (about $4200 per year for treatment) compared to those with untreated addictions whose costs are estimated to be $45,000 per year collectively in health complications, law enforcement involvement, and other social problems such as loss of income.

The province of British Columbia is currently treating over 15,000 residents for opioid addiction. Their health minister, Terry Lake, is quoted as saying that he was encouraged by the findings in the report and that he knows opioid substitution therapy is not only saving lives, but equates to significant savings for the Canadian healthcare system and society.

In a related story, youth struggling with opioid addiction are being helped in Canada by the increased availability of suboxone. Sean Morrison of the Strengths youth addiction services discussed the benefit that suboxone offers in eliminating opioid withdrawal symptoms and cravings so that young people can stabilize and focus more quickly on addiction recovery goals.

While opposition is still present in the USA from certain groups regarding the establishment of methadone treatment services near their community, the medical community and various treatment providers are increasingly able to demonstrate good outcomes with methadone and suboxone supported services. The science of addiction treatment using methadone and suboxone is powerful & compelling – thus legitimizing its increased availability to people who need it. Simply put, opioid substitution therapy saves lives and produces irrefutable medical and psychological benefits for those people struggling in addiction.

Methadone and Other Medications

doc66Methadone is FDA-approved for pain management and the treatment of opioid addiction. Methadone is a relatively safe and highly effective medication when used exactly as prescribed. It is currently in use in the United States and around the world following years of conclusive research on methadone’s efficacy and safety.

It is important for patients receiving methadone to know that it can interact with other central nervous system depressants like alcohol and benzodiazepines such as xanax, klonopin, valium, and librium as well as similarly acting non-benzodiazepine agents like ambien (a popular sleep aid). When methadone is mixed with these other medications, there is an increased risk of sedation and loss of consciousness. In extreme cases, individuals mixing methadone and other CNS depressants have gone into respiratory failure.

For those who have chosen to receive methadone in an opioid treatment program, they will discover that a proper dose of methadone not only eliminates opiate withdrawal & cravings, but will also block the euphoric effects of any other opiates. This is typically a positive side effect in that it discourages illicit opiate use or supplementing with street drugs like heroin. Since methadone binds so well to the brain’s opiate receptor sites, any other opiates that are ingested have no means of creating a euphoria or a high since the body’s opiate receptors are occupied by methadone. This removes the incentive to misuse other opiates and can facilitate the process of recovery.

There are instances in which a patient’s physician has prescribed a benzodiazepine for anxiety management while also prescribing methadone. Such decisions should always be accompanied by a thorough discussion with one’s doctor of the potential risks & complications. There are other, safer alternatives for treating anxiety such as Buspar and cognitive therapy. These other options should be considered when a patient is already receiving methadone. In addiction treatment, the use of benzodiazepines for anxiety is typically monitored carefully through increased random urinalysis testing and medication counts.

New Opioid Treatment Facility in Philadelphia

TheHealingWay2The Healing Way is a newly opened opioid treatment facility in Philadelphia, PA offering methadone maintenance and outpatient therapy for opioid addicted individuals. They treat other substance addictions as well.

The clinic dispenses medication every day of the week and provides both individual and group counseling to its patients.

Located at 7900 Frankford Avenue, The Healing Way is conveniently accessed in the northeast Philly area. As their clinic is new, its official website is not yet active but residents of Philadelphia may want to bookmark their site for future reference at www.TheHealingWay.net.

Also recently added to Methadone.US is BHG Recovery’s facility listing in Humble, Texas. BHG is a leading provider of opioid addiction treatment services in eight states. Their Humble treatment facility also serves residents in the Kingwood community and other areas of north Houston, Texas. Note that BHG provide a video overview of their services specific to each of their treatment locations. Viewers can browse more information on BHG’s programs by visiting our San Antonio, Oklahoma City, and Wichita Falls methadone clinic pages. BHG offer buprenorphine (Suboxone) in addition to methadone maintenance services.