When you start looking into medication-assisted treatment, one of your first questions is most likely, “Is Suboxone an opiate?” Opiates and opioids are notorious for being one of the most difficult drugs to quit using. Opioid addiction develops quickly but getting off of them is another story. If you know some addicted to them, or you’re addicted yourself, you understand completely.

The opioid epidemic plaguing the United States is no secret. More than 130 people die of an opioid overdose every single day. Opioids claimed the lives of over 400,000 individuals between the years of 1999 and 2017. Physicians, psychiatrists, counselors, and addiction specialists need all the help they can get.

Suboxone is one piece of the puzzle when it comes to treating opioid addiction. It’s not a solution in and of itself but it helps you get on track to where you need to be. If you’re looking into treatment options and wondering, “Is Suboxone an opiate?” continue reading. This article is for you.

Is Suboxone an Opiate? It’s Not as Simple as You Think

If you’re only wondering, “Is Suboxone an opiate?” then the quick answer is yes, Suboxone is an opiate drug. It might seem counter-productive to use an opiate to quit using opiates but there is more to it. Doctors understand the dangers of addiction and wouldn’t prescribe the drug if they didn’t think it would help.

What is the Difference Between Opiates and Opioids?

There used to be a major difference between opiates and opioids. Opiates refer to any drug made from morphine or codeine, extracted directly from the opium contained in a poppy plant. Opioids are a type of drug manufactured in laboratories and made to mimic the same chemical structure as opiates, also known as synthetic opiates.

Opiates include drugs such as:

  • Morphine
  • Codeine
  • Heroin
  • Methadone

Opioids, or synthetic opiates, refer to drugs like:

  • Vicodin
  • OxyContin
  • Percocet
  • Norco
  • Suboxone

The line between the two was clear: opiates come from a natural plant and opioids are synthetic. However, the opioid crisis exploded nationwide and the two received increasingly greater coverage. As more people wrote about the impact of these drugs, they often confused the meanings and the line blurred.

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Is Suboxone an Opiate?

Despite the stark difference between opiates and opioids people often use the terms interchangeably now. So when you ask, “Is Suboxone an opiate?” it’s actually not. Technically it’s an opioid.

Suboxone contains two active ingredients: buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, meaning it interacts with opioid receptors in the brain the same way other opiate drugs do. It produces similar feelings to painkillers but to a much lesser degree. On the other hand, naloxone is an opioid antagonist which means it blocks the brain’s opioid receptors.

This might seem contradictory but Suboxone changed the world of medication-assisted treatment by combining these ingredients. The buprenorphine provides a very mild high to help relieve cravings for opiates and opioids. Meanwhile the naloxone blocks the effects of any additional incoming opiate or opioid drugs.

Both work together with the goal to help addicts wean off of their drug of choice. When used strictly as prescribed, Suboxone has the potential to help opioid and opiate addicts ease through the detox period. Still, ince the answer your initial question, “Is Suboxone an opiate?” is somewhat a yes, you must remember it comes with a high potential for addiction.

Suboxone has the potential to help during early recovery but is by no means a cure for drug addiction. In fact, you can actually experience Suboxone withdrawal symptoms. Instead, it works best when used with tapering off in mind, meaning you reduce the dose over time until you’re no longer using any opiates or opioids at all.

What is Medication-Assisted Treatment?

Medication-assisted treatment refers to the practice of using medications, like Suboxone, to relieve drug withdrawal symptoms during the detox phase. Opioid and opiate withdrawals can be a very debilitating experience, both physically and psychologically. Medications help relieve some of the symptoms in order to ease the process.

However, medication is not the only part of treatment. Meds assist the overall treatment plan but they only work as intended when combined with other forms of care. Suboxone and other detox drugs relieve cravings and withdrawals but they do not fix the actual source of addictive behavior.

Medication-assisted treatment also includes individual therapy, group therapy, and other activities. You’ll have the opportunity to develop coping skills to manage your day-to-day life free of substances. Ultimately, the end goal of treatment is to help you learn how to live life without using drugs or alcohol as a crutch.

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Locating a Treatment Facility

Now that you have an answer to your question, “Is Suboxone an opiate?” you’re more prepared to research treatment facilities. It’s better to understand what you sign up for before showing up at the door. If you feel you are at risk for developing another addiction to your medication, medication-assisted treatment might not be for you.

You don’t have to take Suboxone or other detox meds in order to attend treatment. Again, it isn’t going to cure your substance abuse. Instead, some people prefer to ride out the detox period without help from medication. Then they throw themselves fully into the aspects of treatment that target the root causes of their addiction.

Regardless of which option you choose, addiction treatment provides a safe place for you to separate from drugs and alcohol. You develop a community of people with the same goal as you. You learn to live one day at a time and develop the life skills to do so.

Are you ready to look for a treatment center? Give Hawaii Island Recovery a call today at 877-721-3556 to find out the options we offer.