By now the world has heard that a great actor, Philip Seymore Hoffman, died. He died of a drug overdose. Found in his room was an arsenal of detox medication as well. An educated guess? He planned on using hard one last time (as he expressed wanting to get clean the day before his death) and then getting off the heroin once the 50 bags of dope were gone. So he had all the staples. Clonidine for the shakes and general anxiety… it’s the only blood pressure medicine doc’s will routinely prescribe to people withdrawing from opiates. He had a muscle relaxer, for the mini-seizures and awful cramps.
And the big guns… buprenorphine… Suboxone. Suboxone is a synthetic opiate taken to stop physical withdrawal. Some say it’s in the same category as methadone. It is not, at all. Some say so, but those who have taken both know that Suboxone is a life-saving drug, used in conjunction with a plan to get and stay sober. Methadone is more of a substitute for heroin. Some use subs to “detox” and others who have a more serious problem stay on it for years, or for life. When an opiate dependent person takes Suboxone it completely blocks the effects of all other opiates unless the bupe is overridden with a flood of heroin, morphine, fentanyl, etc. Suboxone is a life saver for many addicts who at one time had two options… face a painfully, almost impossible withdrawal or go on methadone. It is not for people who have been addicted less than a few years. Although it does not get folks off, like methadone would, it’s physically addictive so it is definitely not for the vicodin addict… vicodin withdrawal is a cakewalk compared to a Suboxone withdrawal. However, Suboxone will help a person get his/her life back, will not give them the sensation of feeling high (just really relaxed), and it will block all other narcs for those who are around opiates and may get tempted. A small dose is given for those who have a history of addiction as well as needing serious pain management. This life-saving medication is what PSH had in his room. He was serious when he mentioned getting clean. Had he known the hit was too large, a dose of the suboxone would have saved his life.
It not only had naltrexone in it, but, the buprenorphine itself rips opiates off the receptors and fills them with the bupe. It is impossible to overdose on Suboxone. It is a rare drug in that the more you use it the less effective it becomes and the worse you would feel. It has a long half-life and a ceiling effect.
I have read many blogs and threads about Suboxone being worse to get off of than heroin. I would suggest that it is the normal, clear-headed life of a person who has been heroin-free for a while who would suggest this. Having been through pharmacy tech school, unbelievable pain and pain management, and living and working with addicts before becoming a mother I am familiar with Buprenorphine.
I knew, when I read that Philip S. Hoffman had this waiting for him, that he was so close to being clean and sober again. Had he made it through this one last run, he could have found life without drugs again. But Suboxone is a drug you ask? So is coffee. And adrenaline from sex… which releases more endorphins than Suboxone. Suboxone fills a void without getting one high and it is life-saving. It gives people their lives back. I have known many, many people who have gotten their families back, jobs, and a life back with Suboxone.
No, I am not a rep for Suboxone, but I have seen it save life after life from the deadly world of heroin, oxycontin, morphine, fentanyl and dilaudid. It only works for addiction of physically addictive drugs in the opiate family. As well as pain management for former addicts. If my son were to find himself in the grip of heroin addiction, after reaching the 5-year mark I would wholeheartedly support him getting on Suboxone maintenance. If a close friend were to relapse into heroin addiction (which is different than other drugs in many ways that’s why I’m singling this drug out), I would take him or her to the nearest Suboxone doctor and encourage him/her to take the help and save their own life.
Just needed to get this out. I was super opposed to Suboxone about 3 years ago when I knew very little about it. I had my first experience with the medicine (as a painkiller) after my hysterectomy in 2009. After the recent surge in overdose deaths held up to the light of the personal experience I have had with this drug, I am 100% convinced that this drug saves lives.
Needed to get this out. That’s all. Have a good one guys.
I am working on a blog about writing. For third graders and up. Without using a pre-digested process fed to children by suits. Unfortunately I have a severe infection that will not die and I want to make sure I have all my sources/info gathered before writing, so… it has to wait. This blog is my reserved response to a very emotional topic. R.I.P. PSH.