The life-changing drug is a combination of Buprenorphine, a synthetic opiate, and Naloxone, which acts as an opioid blocker. Buprenorphine attaches to the same pain receptors as other narcotics such as heroin or oxycontin. Due to its chemical structure, it relieves the patient of detox symptoms but does not produce the “high” associated with painkillers. Also, its ceiling effect lowers the risk of overdose which can be a danger of methadone use.
Physicians report its use as being a critical part of the recovery process for their patients. While allowing outpatient access, patients adhere to strict dosing limits and times during the first phase of their treatment. Being a requirement for some programs, group therapy and meetings with counselors create a well-rounded regimen. Patients are still able to fulfill vocational requirements and meet family commitments without having to attend a costly inpatient rehabilitation center.
To combat the accelerating opioid epidemic, the federal government has shown support for suboxone treatment. Expanding availability and allowing providers to prescribe the drug to more patients has been proposed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In defense of the proposal, the previous limits on the number of possible patients cut down access to the pharmaceutical. Therefore, people who need the assistance will not be able to get it.
The Affordable Care Act has created several more opportunities for patients seeking Suboxone treatment. Substance abuse is now required coverage by plans on the government’s insurance marketplace. Likewise, new plans seeking to lower drug abuse and overdoses have been proposed. Naloxone has also been encouraged by federal programs as an effective drug in combatting addiction.