What to expect in this episode:
- The immediate future of addiction is going to be dealing with the fallout of our current harm-reduction approach to the opiate crisis
- Suboxone or Subutex is currently subscribed widely to save lives but we don’t know what years of use will do
- It is widely known that suboxone is much harder to detox from than heroin, so what happens when all these people need or want to stop taking it?
The Immediate Future of Addiction | Suboxone and the Opiate Crisis
The most immediate thing I see on the horizon in terms of the near future of addiction is consequences of what we’re doing now with addiction.
The most immediate thing I see on the horizon in terms of the near future of addiction is consequences of what we're doing now with addiction. Click To Tweet
So, we have a gigantic opiate crisis in the United States, unprecedented really. One of the things that we’ve done to save people’s lives, understandably, is we’ve approached it from a governmental level and an Institutional level, and our approach has been harm reduction.
Which means finding medications that reduce the amount of harm caused by heroin and oxy and these drugs and so the consequence of that is we are going to have a generation of young people or some percentage of this next generation that is on some sort of opiate blocker or opiate substitute the most common is called Suboxone most common is called a Suboxone or Subutex and the first crisis we’re going to deal with in terms of the future of addiction as we’re going to have hundreds of thousands or even millions of people who have been on Suboxone or Subutex for 3, 4, 5,10 years and we don’t really understand on that scale the effects of those drugs long-term on the individual.
We don’t know how that affects people’s development over the long-term you know, what happens when you put it on 18-year-old on Suboxone how does it affect the development when they are 24. Maybe it’s hardly at all, maybe it’s a really big deal, we don’t really know. But my guess is it’s something we’re going to have to deal with.
As people start to have mental health problems years out of their development may be in relation to the Suboxone the questions going to be how do we get these people off of this drug? And, what I found in my own experience in treatment, is it’s actually harder to come off of suboxone than it is to come off of heroin – it’s actually well known. If you’ve been on Suboxone for a long time, you know, two, three, four, five years the detox is horrendous and often the depression is really heavy and lasts months if not years and so…
The immediate future of addiction looks like what are we going to do with this group of people who will put a bandaid on their situation that we had to do so they wouldn't die but they didn't completely heal Click To Tweet
The immediate future of addiction looks like what are we going to do with this group of people who will put a bandaid on their situation that we had to do so they wouldn’t die but they didn’t completely heal and they’re on this medication, maybe for life or maybe they want to get off and what do we do so that’s a new media crisis that we will be in the headlines in a couple of years.