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Buprenorphine in Heroin Treatment

Can you imagine craving something so strong that you’d skip your job, steal money, leave your kids alone at home, even meet with dangerous people just to get it over and over?  This is what a heroin addict might do to keep up their supply.  Heroin is so dangerous because it can be quickly addictive and have permanent effect on a person’s mind and body.  Drug rehabs often use medication such as buprenorphine to help with the heroin detox process. 

How Buprenorphine Helps With Heroin Addiction

Opioids are drugs that act much like the neurotransmitters in our bodies.  These chemicals include endorphins, adrenaline, and dopamine, all of which control many different behavioral and emotional responses.  The neurotransmitters travel back and forth between neuron receptors, fitting together like locks with keys. 

Opioids can lock into these same receptors, only the effect they have is enormous and overwhelming compared to what the body can normally produce.  When opioids are carefully used as painkillers, they can be effective.  However, heroin use is never regulated and the risk of overdose is high. 

Buprenorphine is an opioid that is enough like heroin and other potent drugs, but it’s chemical fit to receptors isn’t perfect.  It can make cravings more tolerable and the body more comfortable while the heroin use has been stopped.  However, it generally doesn’t fit well enough to give an addictive rush or high.  This can also help with psychological addiction, giving the person a chance to develop healthy coping skills with fewer effects from the physical withdrawal process.

Subutex for Pregnant Heroin Users

Apparently, mono buprenorphine (also called Subutex) has been deemed as safe and effective as methadone for pregnant heroin users.  Currently, methadone and buprenorphine are Category C drugs.  These drugs have only been through animal trials, no solid human trials, and have caused known problems for animals fetuses.  However, there can be enough benefit to the mother to warrent use in spite of these risks. 

In other words, methadone and buprenorphine have enough risk to be strongly avoided in nearly all cases.  However, if it will ensure that the mother stays safe and healthy to take the baby to full term, some risk to the fetus may be the lesser of two problems to deal with. 

Buprenorphine Not The Perfect Solution

At this summit, experts from the National Institute of Drug Abuse reported findings about the usefulness of Buprenorphine.  They stated that it was actually more helpful with painkiller addiction than heroin addiction.

Buprenorphine is a legal prescribed drug.  However, some people abuse buprenorphine by crushing and injecting it.  The very drug that is supposed to help them with their heroin addiction becomes the replacement drug.  This method of crushing and injection the drug is very hazardous because shared or dirty needles can spread disease among users.  This is a true testament to the psychological and psychological power of opiate addictions.  Even drugs meant to be helpful can get turned around and abused.

Heroin Rehab at The Orchid

The professionals at the Orchid Recovery Center for Women do everything possible to assist women with the sometimes difficult process of drug detox.  But detox is just the first of many steps of growth in drug treatment.  The supportive community of women, the holistic therapies, and research-based treatment methods combine to provide an environment of healing at the Orchid.

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