After years of active addiction, with opiates being my drug of choice, I was prescribed Suboxone at a clinic and continued to receive my monthly prescription for 2 1/2 years until finally quitting cold turkey (my “doctor” refused a taper- said I “needed Suboxone”) through the NA fellowship July 23, 2010. What a difference! The withdrawals were HORRIBLE– literally took me 60-90 days to feel “normal.” Still, I am experiencing an emotional numbness and loss of libido that I never experienced before I took Suboxone. I am convinced that the drug has affected neurotransmitters in a way that will take my brain quite some time to regulate.
It is so sad to me, because in my town, there are clinics popping up all over the place, making big money on unwarranted promises with little or no experience to back them up. I feel that they are robbing the addict the chance to do exactly as you said, “… understand what
you were trying to self-medicate in the first place…[and]…live life on life’s terms.”
In summary, I absolutely agree with your article (Suboxone: Concerns Behind The Miracle Article) and find it to be completely true– my truth, at least, based on my personal experience– which is really all we have, right?
Johnson City, Tennessee
I wanted to personally thank you both for all of your care provided during my detox treatment from Suboxone. In addition to the superior medical knowledge you shared, I also received unparalleled personal support. Suboxone is by far the worst drug I have ever
been addicted to and would not recommend taking it unless prescribed by a qualified doctor such as Dr. Scanlan.
I greatly appreciate that you were always available to discuss my symptoms and to provide real solutions to help me get through the difficult days.
If anyone has any problem with addictive medication, I would definitely recommend your program. Again, many thanks!
Best Regards, Jeff from Fort Lauderdale
Thanks so much Dr. Scanlan for the article on Suboxone. Your candor regarding the financial incentives to use it as a maintenance therapy rather than a short-term taper is especially appreciated.
I do not know whether you are familiar with the Prescription Addiction Radio Show out of Tampa which airs every Sunday night 9-11pm but all the shows are on archives at www.prescriptionaddictionradio.com
Although my “official” capacity is as a clinical nurse specialist focused on staff development related to addiction and recovery at a local hospital here in NYC, my main mission is peer assistance for nurses who have surrendered their license to practice due to a substance use disorder. Several articles and a blog are available at www.unbecominganurse.org as well a couple books that got a rave review in January’s Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly.
Sadly we will probably see a growing incentive to place patients as well s nurses on Suboxone long-term and I hope you continue to educate professionals and the public on this issue. To that end, I am forwarding the article to Larry Golbom, the host of the Prescription Addiction Radio Show along with my belief that you would be an excellent guest on the show.
Paula Davies Scimeca, RN, MS
Bravo to Dr. Scanlan. Although the clinic where I work doesn’t prescribe Suboxone, we treat a number of clients who are taking the drug. Dr. Scanlan’s comments mirror my own observations: Long-term use of Suboxone is most definitely a problem. Getting off Suboxone completely is very uncomfortable (particularly after long-term use), and the discomfort can go on for weeks, even months. That message is not getting out to the addicts.
Thanks again, Dr. Scanlan.
Brian Duffy, LMHC, LADC-ISMOC Behavioral Health Services Framingham, Mass.
I want to congratulate Addiction Professional on publishing Steven Scanlan, MD’s insightful and thought-provoking article. I’d also like to acknowledge Dr. Scanlan’s incredible courage and integrity in addressing the current 800-pound gorilla in the room of the opioid addiction treatment community.
It is way past time that we question the magical thinking that permeates the opioid replacement therapy (ORT) community, particularly regarding buprenorphine-based agents such as the buprenorphine-naloxone combination Suboxone. The fuzzy-headed, euphemistic language that is used by many of the ORT advocates, such as “medication-assisted recovery,” is particularly concerning when applied to long-term maintenance therapy.
What needs to be clarified is that buprenorphine is an extraordinarily potent opioid, albeit a partial agonist at the opioid mu receptor. The available buprenorphine-naloxone preparations have significant abuse liability and have a long history of diversion for illicit use. What is most concerning is that much of the pharmaceutical industry-sponsored research routinely exhibits bias in favor of a positive therapeutic effect of its products.
I want to be as clear as possible that I am in favor of opioid addicts receiving ORT in the privacy of their physicians’ offices, provided that there has been a clear failure after detoxification and adequate abstinence-based inpatient treatment. I think we all agree on the chronic, progressive nature of chemical dependency, particularly opioid dependence. I am in favor of virtually all risk reduction strategies, including needle exchange and substitution therapies, where abstinence-based approaches have failed to effect a remission. What I believe is important is that we remember our history of pharmacologic optimism in the treatment of opioid dependence and the debris it has left behind.
Again, I’d like to thank Dr. Scanlan for having the ethical fortitude to address this controversial topic honestly.
Art Zwerling, DNP, CRNA, DAAPM – Elkins Park, Pa.
Dr. Scanlan is by far the best doctor I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Besides being an expert in his field, he has the old school bedside manner not often seen in today’s medical practices. Put plainly, he cares about his patients and if you follow his guidance and advice, you will get well. Guaranteed. If you ever find yourself in need of serious help then stop searching and start calling his office for an appointment. It will literally save your life.
Top qualities: Great Results, Personable, Expert – SK hired Steve in February 2010.
I’m writing to wish you a Happy Anniversary. I’m sober 1 year today. On April 2, 2009 you saved my life by agreeing to take me on as an outpatient case. I was a borderline candidate for outpatient treatment and was relentless with David on the phone to take me on. I will neveer forget your compassion and care. I have great regard for the both of you and my sobriety. I’m grateful to be sober today. Hard times are easier when your sober and not a reason for relapse. I believe all relapes are planned. I don’t believe in “slips”; bottles don’t slip into your hand. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring; however, the only planning I’m doing is for a productive and hopeful future with my family. The family I am grateful not to have lost. My husband is a gift from God for whom I’m grateful for every day. Thank you Dr. Scanlan for the opportunity to keep my life and loved ones and celebrate the joys of life without a drink. Happy Anniversary!! With Respect & Gratitude,
D.M., Boca Raton
The physical and emotional pain I felt when I came to your office was so overwhelming, but you promised me that I would feel better. Over the past few weeks, your personal attention and 24/7 access has really helped me break out of my unbearable lifestyle of alcohol and depression. I am now attending AA meetings and seeking the recovery that you talked about.
Thank you so much. Sober in Boca