New Hope for Opioid Addicts

New Hope for Opioid Addicts

A program combining the drug Suboxone with therapy will help people break their addiction to opioids . . . to break free and live life again.

Greg started experimenting with drugs in high school, but they did not really slow him down. He made good grades, played football, graduated, and got a job in real estate.

But when he had his wisdom teeth removed in his mid-20s, he took Percocet for the pain. Before long he became another of Collier County’s many opioid addicts.

“Opioids became my food,” Greg told PBS NewsHour. But after a while, and as the single father of a young daughter, “I was just desperate for anything to get away from it.”

His doctor prescribed Subutex, a drug that helps opioid addicts break free. Within minutes of taking the first pill, Greg felt better: “All of a sudden it was just no more zombie. It was very even and I just felt like I should feel.”

The combination of the drug and therapy, the “gold standard” of treating opioid addiction, helped Greg break free. And it has helped many others.

David Lawrence Centers is poised to launch a similar program, using Suboxone, a sister drug to Subutex, to help local addicts. The program is called MORE—Maintenance for Opioid Recovery Everyday.

Suboxone helps clients “wean” off of opioids. A combination of buprenorphine and naloxone, it is taken sublingually on a daily basis. Buprenorphine is an “opioid agonist” which reduces or eliminates withdrawal symptoms like nausea, diarrhea, cramping, runny nose, and headache. Combined with therapy, it is quite effective.

In one study, 49 percent of participants reduced prescription painkiller abuse after 12 weeks of Suboxone treatments. When they stopped taking Suboxone, the success rate dropped dramatically, to 8.6 percent.

“We’re starting the MORE program in response to the growing crisis with opioids in our community,” says Maggie Baldwin, Clinical Director of Crossroads, DLC’s addiction recovery program. “It helps take care of withdrawal symptoms in the detox program, and then people can stay on it long-term for maintenance.

“It’s a pathway to recovery. This could possibly save people’s lives.”

Nov 02, 2017 | News

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