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Monday Morning Anti-Suboxone Quarterback

Posted Jun 02 2009 4:41pm

I spend some time on this post at the forum so I will share it here as well.  First, a post from a person who uses the name ‘Suboxone7yrs’:

I was addicted to vicodin for 10 years popping 50 pills a day of Vicodin ES or NORCO, I then decided enough is enough, went to the ER and they gave me a list of doctors who deal with addiction. I went to see this female doctor who gave me the 3 hour consultation thing, then put me on 32mg of SUBOXONE, she sold me the suboxone out of her office for $5 per pill, rather then paying $8 a pill at a Walgreens I thought ok why not?…Well 5 years later this doctor STILL had me on 32mg of SUBOXONE! She then must have gotten caught because she was no longer in practice, so I found another doctor who was commited to getting me off, it took 2 years and my last dose of 2mg was March 2, 2009. I looked up all over the internet “How long will W/D’s be for this” some said 3 to 5 days some said longer. I am here to tell you I went through withdrawals for 31 LONG A** days and when I tell you this is the hardest thing in life I have ever ever done I an NOT kidding you. I was at the ER 8 times for the CLONODINE patch, I know every one is different but my god, I laid in bed crying…begging for god to take me, it was PURE HELL people PURE HELL!!! Leg twitches AND arm twitches for 31 days straight! Skin crawling, lost 40 pounds from going to the bathroom, weak, vomiting, sweating, depressed like I have never been I couldnt wash my hair for weeks, my best friend had to drive over and wash my hair and do my laundry, your useless!!! I will NEVER EVER recommend to anyone that they go on SUBOXONE even if it’s for 2 dam days. This is just MY STORY and MY OPINION. I am sure it had worked miracles for tons and tons of people but even the doctor couldnt understand why I was withdrawling for SO LONG! 17 years of putting a pill or several pills in my mouth took a blow to my body and I just wish I NEVER EVER would have gotten on SUBOXONE. It was the worst experience of my dam life. I just think about Suboxone and I feel like vomiting. Now I feel all the under lying problems I have that I never felt because I was on Suboxone, like 2 bulging disks in my back that are killing me and I need something, I cant even take a 15 minute walk and I am only 37 years old! I am stuck…dont know what to do? This is ny story and Im stickng to it. I hope others out there have a better road of recovery getting off suboxoxe, all I have to say to them is good luck and hold on tight for the roller coaster road to come!! Piece

Below is my response:

I’m a little disappointed in all you folks, after all the lecturing I do!! I’m kidding– sort of, anyway! I agree that the dose of 32 mg was too high– but the 7 year part is not ‘too long’. ‘Suboxone7years’ is doing what many people do; blaming Suboxone rather than blaming his opiate addiction. We don’t know what would have happened, had the person NOT had Suboxone, but read the history. The person was addicted to opiates for 10 years! My active addiction lasted only 6 months– and that was enough to give me cravings even after 7 years of being totally off medications or substances (i.e. not on Suboxone or anything else– just tons of meetings). So a person who has been on opiates for ten years is SERIOUSLY ADDICTED. After my 6 months of use, I went through treatment that consisted of 3 1/2 months residential (after a week of horrible detox), and then 6 years of aftercare (group twice per week for a few years, then once per week).

I must admit to a bit of skepticism over 7yrs report, just because Suboxone was not available in the US until 2003– so I don’t know how he/she got to 7 yrs of use followed by the time in withdrawal between 2003 and 2009. Yes, DATA2000 was the act that allowed ‘treatment of opiate dependence using opiates on schedule III through V’, but Suboxone was not approved or sold until mid 2003. Maybe ‘7yrs’ means ‘6yrs’– no biggie, as I tend to exaggerate as well.

‘7years’ had 10 years to quit opiates– and then thanks to Suboxone was finally able to get free. And after 7 years of freedom, she complains about 20 or 30 days of withdrawal?! She also blames that on the Suboxone– but you also have to blame it on the 10 years of using before Suboxone! What makes 7 years think that all the withdrawal is just Suboxone’s fault? 7years, let me point out to you that you COULDN’T quit the other drugs– but you COULD quit the Suboxone. What does that tell a logical person about which one is harder to get off?

I have detoxed more than I ever wanted to… and I have seen many, many people go off many things (I’m medical director of a large residential center in addition to my practice). As I have pointed out, I couldn’t walk during my detox! People going off Suboxone tend to go to work and complain about how sick they feel– people going off agonists tend to like in a bed in a detox ward or at home, and they don’t complain– because they are too weak to talk! I’m sorry you felt miserable, 7years, but have you ever ‘jumped’ from 30 mg of methadone? Or come off heroin? You must have at least seen the movies– they call it ‘kickin” because the legs kick constantly. That was MY detox– I lost 30 pounds, and for days I was up around the clock, legs kicking, body shaking and shivering, sweating like crazy, nausea and diarrhea at the same time– after a month I could walk about 50 feet without needing to sit down and rest– and that was a huge improvement!

But none of this even gets to the real issue. 7years, how do you plan to stay clean going forward? Given the time factors I mentioned above, you couldn’t have been clean for more than a couple months so far– opiate dependence is a relapsing condition. Everyone is certain it won’t happen to them, but… it happens to even those who are working a very intensive recovery program. That is why the recommendation, more and more, is to STAY on Suboxone! Yes, if you are a masochist who wants to watch your family get destroyed, go out on the quest for ‘pure sobriety’. But I recommend against it. My own relapse occurred after 7 years of very good recovery– I was ‘all AA and NA’ for years before my relapse. If anyone thought I would return to that life, I’d say they were crazy fools. But you know what? People DID say I was flirting with disaster when I stopped meetings… and they were right.

Now we have Suboxone, so people like 7yrs can enjoy freedom without the work of 90 meetings in 90 days followed by years of aftercare. That is fine– but it isn’t really fair, after enjoying the freedom the medication gave you, to claim that you didn’t really need it, and wish you hadn’t taken it. You very well might be dead or in prison had it not been there. In light of that, a month of feeling sick is a good deal– better than the work I put into my freedom. But your work is just starting, if you are so convinced you will never take Suboxone. Feel free to stop back in a year and boast, if you are still clean– and I hope for your sake that you are. But I often point out that the people who complain about Suboxone are usually people with a few clean months, as those people have themselves fooled into thinking they are all done with addiction… I have put offers out on some of the Subox-hater sites asking for someone with 5 years clean to talk to me– and so far, I haven’t found a soul.

SD

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