Medicated Maintenance Programs
These programs may sound like a foreign language to you so I have given detailed descriptions of each below. Each have great qualities and drawbacks. However, it is important to match the program you choose to your lifestyle.
- Suboxone Maintenance
This wonder drug can only be prescribed by a Suboxone certified doctor. Suboxone is an opiate analgesic is made of two ingredients: Bupenorphine, an opiate with a high affinity for opiatereceptors, and Naloxone, an opiate blocker. Some patients report drastic reductions in cravings. Opiate users must be in withdrawal before a doctor will administer suboxone, or the naloxone will force rapid withdrawal. Many people use suboxone as a long-term treatment option. Suboxone seems like a miracle drug because it takes away the physical symptoms, but it fails to address the underlying mental issues leading to substance abuse. Therefore, Suboxone doctors encourage participation in therapy or a recovery program while taking Suboxone.
Suboxone is also used in detox centers. However, in this setting it is usually prescribed for a short period and doses are tapered down daily.
- Methadone Treatment
Methadone has been around longer than Suboxone, but is still an easily accessible treatment option. Methadone clinics are all over the U.S. These clinics have strict guidelines, requiring patients to show up daily for dosing until a certain amount of clean drug tests and counseling sessions have been completed. Patients slowly gain take home privileges if rules have been followed. Methadone treatment can be started before a user has entered into withdrawal, which takes away the obstacle of finding a detox facility or trying to quit cold turkey. As the methadone builds up in a patient’s body, it becomes easier to slow down heroin use. Under the supervision of a doctor, a methadone patient can decide to taper off the methadone at a pace he or she is comfortable with.
Methadone treatment averages around 60 dollars a week, which is far less than out-of-pocket price for Suboxone. If this is not possible, some insurance companies cover methadone. Also, there are grants available to help pay for methadone treatment if your insurance will not pay. Many insurance companies provide transportation to methadone clinics, using programs like Veyo, Lyft, or Yellow Cab, so be sure to inquire if daily transportation is a concern.
- Vivitrol Shot
The Vivitrol shot can only be administered when a patient has no opiates in his system. Vivitrol prevents the user from feeling the effects of opiates. Therefore, trying to get high after receiving a Vivitrol shot would be a waste of time. The effects of each shot last 30 days and patients have reported a decline in cravings for heroin while on the Vivitrol program. Although some users report a return cravings of cravings toward the end of the month. This is a potential option for users who are not able to enter an inpatient facility or users who just want to take extra precaution against relapse during recovery. Vivitrol is a great backup precaution to take while participating in outpatient programs or recovery meetings.
Note to heroin users: Look at it this way, if you are not sure you are ready to quit, what is 30 days? You have the rest of your life to use heroin if you truly want to. Hell, it is a free world. However, why not give yourself 30 days GUARANTEED sobriety so you can remember what it is like again. I know there were times where I forgot who I was or what I felt like sober from heroin.