I was quickly becoming another statistic in the drug epidemic. I found myself hooked to heroin: me, a business professional with a good career, college education, and a loving family. My drug of choice made me feel so good in the beginning, but it ruined my life. I didn’t want to be this way; why would I want to be an addict?
I thought I could control my addiction. I just used it when the pressure from my job and my family got to be too much for me. Occasionally turned into once a week, and soon I was using several times a day. By the time I realized I had a problem, the withdrawal symptoms were too severe for me to handle myself. I knew I needed help.
Why Is Medical Intervention Necessary With Opioids?
When you are dealing with heroin, it’s not possible to just go “cold turkey.” Though some have successfully stopped using this drug through those methods, it’s not advisable. The physical effects can be quite overwhelming. Stopping heroin or any opioid abruptly can cause:
- Cardiac Issues
- Digestive Upset
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Brain Damage
I think that the severe list of possible side effects was one reason why I never tried it alone. The center I called said they used a medically supervised detox program. I didn’t know much about this, but I thought that I would be trading one drug for another. I was really misinformed because this prescription is saving lives.
I’ve taken Suboxone for around three years. Using it as a maintenance medication is completely safe. Sure, I would love to be able to walk away from heroin and never look back. However, I had to come to terms with the fact that I have a disease. It’s a disease that has been passed down from my family. My father struggled with alcoholism and my grandfather too. It’s no different than diabetes, high blood pressure, or cholesterol issues. No one thinks twice of medicating for those health problems. Why does everyone fight a drug that allows me to live drug-free?
To understand Suboxone, you need to know how it works. First, it’s a compound made up of buprenorphine and naloxone. The drug buprenorphine helps to block the cravings I have for heroin. Remember, my years of abuse has rewired and caused damage to my brain, so I need something to combat it. The second half of the compound, naloxone, helps to reverse the damage done by the drugs.
I was petrified at the thought of going through the pain from withdrawal, but the prescription medication given to me helped to alleviate and eliminate those horrific symptoms.
I took illegal drugs because I needed something to speed me up to get me through the day. What I found is that it played with my emotional well being in a significant way. However, few people know that Suboxone has a calming effect on the body. It helped me to relax, have a greater sense of overall well being, and not feel the stress like I did in times past.
Using Suboxone Long Term
Many people think those who use heroin will never recover, which is one of the reasons why our relapse rate is so high. The drug does some significant damage to the body. As far as Suboxone, some side effects can come about with long term use. For instance, I may become depressed, have bodily pains, my cravings for heroin may return, and I can develop a psychological addiction. There is also the chance of sexual performance issues. Consequently, nothing that I could experience with Suboxone could ever compare to the withdrawal from harsh drugs like heroin.
The goal of using Suboxone is to taper the effects of illegal drugs from your body slowly. In time, I hope to be free from all medications, but I know that may not be a reality. Until that point, I have found something that allows me to work and function as close to normal as possible.