Suboxone is a member of the opiate family that is often used by rehab centers to treat addiction to other opiates, such as heroin. Despite its common usage, Suboxone has proven to be extremely addictive in its own right, and it is also harder to recover from addiction to this opiate. The reasons for this concern how Suboxone reacts in the body. Firstly, it is longer-lasting than most opiates, such as heroin, sometimes staying in the system for 36 hours. Secondly, it can build up within the body, ‘stacking’ its potency until regular users will have Suboxone in their system more than a month after withdrawing from the drug. This potency makes it difficult to go ‘cold turkey’ or withdraw from it slowly, and means that choosing a drug treatment option can be particularly difficult.
In the US at the moment, there is only one face of Suboxone addiction treatment, and that is rehab 12-step programs. This approach means that patients are taken off of the drug, and their withdrawal symptoms are managed with other forms of an opiate. In addition, they are then placed on a counseling program which is commonplace throughout US rehabs and 12-step programs. This has been shown to be a failure in treating addiction, but medical experts fall back onto this program without even considering other options. The end result of this treatment is that the addict is not cured, and often emerges from rehab with less confidence and a feeling that they have completely lost control. These feelings mean that they are more vulnerable to the pull of Suboxone, and may also develop other mental health issues.
Opiate addiction has been successfully treated outside of the US through the application of a substance called Ibogaine. This is a compound produced from the root of an African bush. Used for centuries in tribal rituals, it has been shown to be effective in the treatment of opiate addiction, particularly of heroin and methadone. Addicts who have tried to get clear of Suboxone previously may have been keen to try this treatment rather than go back into a traditional rehab. With Suboxone addiction, treatment, Ibogaine can be a single one time dose, which is then followed up with holistic rehab therapy and counselling, or there may be repeated maintenance doses which are designed to help the user manage withdrawals and cope with the long-term impact of cravings.