Heroin addiction treatment has been a long standing study. While drugs such as Crystal Meth and other newer designer drugs are still largely not understood, Heroin and other opiates have been in use for a very long time and its effects have been well documented, thus the reason its treatment is in more advanced stages than with other drugs that are abused.
In prior generations heroin treatment was mainly based off of a weaning process. Those addicted to heroin would enter hospitals and be given doses of opiate that progressively got smaller in quantity as time went along to ease them off of the drug. In modern times the methods used to combat withdrawal symptoms in opiate users is not so different, but there are nuances and embellishments within the major withdrawal supplements that make them very effective.
The two most popular supplements are Suboxone and Methadone.
Suboxone has two main ingredients. The first ingredient is Buprenorphine. Buprenorphine is a compound that is an analgesic. Analgesics mimic the function of opiates an bind to the opiate receptors in your brain, thus reducing the withdrawal symptoms. Buprenorphine essentially plays the part in the weaning process. Naloxone is actually a compound that binds to opiate receptors and blocks them from being used. While this seems contradictory because it would work to counteract the Buprenorphine, Nalaxone actually only works if the drug is abused – if the drug is injected. If taken properly by placing the Suboxone pill under the tongue, the Nalaxone is not activated and the Buprenorphine is allowed to do its job.
Methadone is an older supplement for heroin withdrawal and has been in use for over thirty years. Methadone also is an analgesic that binds to opiate receptors in order to occupy the brain’s craving for the drug. However, unlike Suboxone which has Naloxone in order to prevent the risk of abuse, Methadone does not have an opiate antagonist. This means that Methadone is at a higher risk for abuse.
Though both supplements are different Suboxone seems to be the more advanced and better choice. Methadone does reduce withdrawal but there is a risk for abuse which would simply replace the heroin or opiate addiction for a new one. But of course since Suboxone is more effective it is also available at a higher cost.
Unfortunately, whether a recovering addict chooses Suboxone or Methadone, battling against withdrawal is only a small part of combating addiction. There has yet to be a medication or supplement that successfully eliminates withdrawal symptoms as well as the desire and cravings to use opiates. Only through both medical and psychological practices can recovery be attained, and it is always an on going process.