Every year in Utah and nationwide, opioid abuse still leads to a disturbing number of fatal overdoses. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicates that 70,630 drug overdose deaths happened in the U.S. in 2019 alone.
The figures are even more unsettling if you look at them over the long term. According to the CDC, almost 500,000 people died from opioid overdoses from 1999-2019.
The opioid epidemic is a major issue for people from every walk of life. In 2018, approximately 2 million people struggled with opioid abuse – and the number has likely grown.
Medication Can Help with Opioid Addiction
For some, the idea of treating opioid addiction with more drugs can seem questionable. But the truth is, research has shown that some medications can help significantly with opioid use disorders.
Medication-Assisted Therapy (MAT) utilizes medications approved by the FDA to help one manage withdrawals and alter the way one’s body responds to opioids. Treatment professionals have had great success combining MAT with counseling and drug treatment. With the right combination of treatments, those struggling with opioid dependency can often recover and lead healthy, happier lives.
Differences Between Methadone and Suboxone
For many decades, methadone was the obvious choice for MAT. It is a long-acting opioid agonist – not a true opiate – that can alter how the body responds to pain. In therapeutic doses administered by qualified professionals, it can alleviate the physical need for opiates without causing the “high” that dependent opioid users seek.
Although methadone can be used to treat opioid addiction, it does still have addiction potential. The worry over addiction is one reason why only SAMHSA-certified opioid treatment programs (OTP) can administer methadone by law.
Methadone treatment typically lasts for 12 months, but some patients take it for years. Usually, stopping methadone treatment should only be done under the supervision of a doctor.
Suboxone is a relatively new drug – technically, a combination of two drugs, buprenorphine, and naloxone. It is designed to reduce dependence on opioids and withdrawal symptoms.
Buprenorphine blocks the opioid receptors in the brain, which leads to a reduction in the urge to use opioids. It works in a way similar to opioids, but it is not as strong as heroin or even as strong as methadone.
Naloxone works by countering an opioid’s effects on the body, which is why it is often used to stop overdoses.
Which is Better – Methadone or Suboxone
Suboxone is often a more successful treatment than methadone. There are many reasons for this, some of which include:
- Less habit-forming than methadone
- Blocks the effects of opioids, thus minimizing the urge to use
- Certified doctors can prescribe it (methadone is only available from SAMHSA-certified opioid OTPs)
Wondering if Suboxone Can Help You or a Loved One?
While suboxone is more accessible than methadone, it is still only available from providers with a special license – like our pain clinics in Providence, Layton, or Ogden, Utah.
If you are struggling with opioid use in Utah, we encourage you to get in touch with our team. We can give you specific treatment advice for your situation. And if we believe suboxone will help, we can prescribe it for you.