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Buprenorphine

Buprenorphine

Buprenorphine drugs belong to the opioid family just like the drugs who’s addictions they treat. They also have opioid agonist properties. What that means is that they have chemicals that reduce the pleasurable effects that opioids have on the user’s body and mind.

Recent years have seen the highest ever rise in opiate and drug addiction and abuse that the United States has ever experienced. The situation has elevated to the point that President Donald Trump has declared the opioid crisis a “National Health Emergency” and many state governments have declared their own states of emergency. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have called the opioid crisis the worst drug addiction epidemic in US history and links the rise in addiction directly to the sharp rise in the prescription of opioid painkillers over the last few decades.

Many of these prescription painkillers are very powerfully addictive, but were approved by the FDA and were prescribed in unprecedented numbers by doctors who either didn’t know or didn’t care that they were causing staggering amounts of people to become unknowingly addicted to the drugs.

Needless to say, with all of this going on, there are efforts across every field to try and come up with ways to fight against, and eventually turn back the rising tide of drug abuse and addiction in the US.

In the law enforcement community, there are increasing efforts to stop the illegal manufacture, importation, and sale of illegal drugs like heroin, and the illegal sale of controlled drugs like hydrocodone and fentanyl.

The efforts here are to disrupt the supply and trafficking of illegal drugs and to make them less lucrative and more legally dangerous to deal in. Law enforcement is also putting more strict regulations in place regarding when, how, and to whom certain highly addictive drugs may be prescribed.

On the state and federal government levels the efforts are to provide more affordable and available addiction treatment for those who are already addicted and need help, and to provide education, and informational materials to schools and those who may become addicted in the future but with the right knowledge, may be able to avoid going down that dark road altogether.

In addition, governments are trying to research and develop policy and further legal measures that can be implemented to help abate the addiction issue.

In the medical field, there are efforts to educate both prescribing doctors and their patients on the dangers of the drugs they use, and new policies are being put in place to help prevent as many addicts being created in the future due to the over-prescription of addictive pharmaceuticals.

In the field of drug rehab, there likely has never been a bigger time for new methods of addiction treatment, as well as the expansion of other long-standing methods.

Over the years, opiate and other drug addiction have always been a problem and there have always been new methods being developed to help people recover from them.

In the drug rehab field, this has led to the development of many methods of treatment and most of them have proven to be helpful to many people struggling with addiction.

Another avenue by which people have been trying to help solve the world’s addiction problems is by developing a drug rehab medication to help addicts through the symptoms of withdrawal and to reduce or eliminate the strong cravings to use the drug they were addicted to.

These attempts have met with mixed success, while often achieving what they set out to do with varying degrees of success, they have also thus far been toxic and dangerously addictive drug in their own right and many people have simply traded an addiction to an illicit street drug like heroin for a legal, prescribed narcotic addiction. While the prescribed drug may indeed be somewhat less dangerous, this is still not a real solution, as the individual is still addicted and dependent on a dangerous and abusable drug to live their life.

The search and development continues however, and researchers are always refining their products to create safer and more effective addiction recovery prescription drugs.

One of the latest forms of these addiction treatment drugs is buprenorphine.

What is Buprenorphine?

Buprenorphine is the name of the drug but it is sold and distributed under several brand names. These brand names include:

  • Buprenex
  • Butrans
  • Probuphine

Buprenorphine works in theory by satisfying or partially satisfying the body’s cravings for the opiate drugs it is dependent on, and by reducing or eliminating the pleasurable effects opiate have on the user thereby removing one of the incentives of abusing the drugs.

Buprenorphine is designed not as a stand-alone addiction treatment, but as an aid to standard addiction treatments.

It is meant to be an aid to ease the detox and withdrawal portions of recovery and let the person experience relative sobriety while they do so. It is thought that this practice will allow the person the strength and determination to stay in recovery and rehab until they are able to get through the rest of the rehab program and recover fully.

It can not be argued that buprenorphine has seen success in helping to treat addiction. However, it does also have a number of drawbacks.

One failing of buprenorphine is that sometimes its users place too much faith in its potential to “cure” them of addiction without the need to continue with actual rehab. This leads to situations of simple addiction transfer or even frequent relapse to the old drugs.

Another detractor of buprenorphine is its addictive properties and potential for abuse. Though steps have been taken in its manufacture to limit these risks, the risks are far from non-existent.

Just like the drugs it is designed to treat, buprenorphine is an opioid narcotic and can be highly addictive.

Buprenorphine can cause all the same addiction and abuse symptoms such as:

  • Dependence. This is when the body acclimates to the presence of the drug in its system and come to depend on the drug to function. Dependence can also be mental in nature with the user feeling that they need the drug to get through life.
  • Withdrawal. When the body is dependent on a drug like buprenorphine, but the person stops taking it, or can’t get it, they will go through withdrawal. The symptoms of buprenorphine withdrawal may include nausea, vomiting, depression, drug cravings, headaches, muscle aches, insomnia, low energy levels, sweating, anxiety, fever, chills, and trouble concentrating.
  • Tolerance. This is when the body needs more and more of the drug to continue feeling the positive effects the user expects.
  • Abuse. This is using a drug in greater amounts than are safe, for non-medical purposes such as getting high or just using a drug or other substance in a way not recommended by its manufacturers or prescribing doctors such as mixing buprenorphine with other substances like alcohol.
  • Overdose. Taking too large a dose of a drug like buprenorphine can cause numerous dangerous symptoms for the user including extreme sedation, loss of consciousness, or even death.
  • Addiction. This tends to be characterized by strong compulsions to continue taking buprenorphine in spite of negative effects it has on the user or those who love them. Someone who is addicted to a drug like buprenorphine may not be able to recognize that they are addicted.

What Can Be Done About Buprenorphine Abuse and Addiction?

If you or someone you know has a problem with buprenorphine addiction, it is strongly recommended that they attend an addiction rehab program that is equipped to help people with opiate addiction.

Because buprenorphine is an opioid, it can be a very difficult addiction to overcome, but if you find the right help for you it can be done, and you can live a life free from a dependence on drugs.

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