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The National Alliance of Advocates
for Buprenorphine Treatment

Buprenorphine (Suboxone®, Subutex®3, Zubsolv®4, Bunavail™5, Probuphine®6) is an opioid medication used to treat opioid addiction in the privacy of a physician's office.1 Buprenorphine can be dispensed for take-home use, by prescription.1 This, in addition to the pharmacological and safety profile of buprenorphine, makes it an attractive treatment for patients addicted to opioids.2

Patient Stories

"As I continue to get the Suboxone where I can, it continually blows my mind that getting heroin is easier than getting Suboxone. It’s almost as though the regulations on Suboxone are stacked in favor of doing what’s wrong instead of what’s right. Now I am at the mercy of other people for my medication, while I wait and wait to get into a program."

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When I was little, nobody in the world could have convinced me that I would end up as an intravenous heroin user. I was one of the brightest students at school, never disobeyed my parents, and had high, if naïve, hopes of changing the world for the better someday. Unfortunately, I also suffered from severe clinical depression, which, untreated, would eventually lead me down a road that I can only describe as terrifyingly dark and torturous.abstract image        

Until I was about 27 years old, I had not had problems with any serious addiction, except to cigarettes. At that time in my life, I was on my second marriage, with a child from my first marriage (I married at the age of 19). I had moved from place to place, from person to person, chasing the always-illusive dream of “happiness.” After I left my second marriage, I had the misfortune of falling in love with a drug dealer. Of course, all of the signs were there, but it wasn’t until I was roped into taking a home-equity loan for this guy that I learned the truth. After I knew, the threats and abuse began. I started using cocaine almost every day. Before long, as the divorce proceeded, I sold my home and ended up handing over almost all of the proceeds to this dealer. I soon lost custody of my only child, the light of my life. I almost killed myself then, but, sensing his money supply about to dry up, my “boyfriend” started to supply me with a heavy and constant dose of drugs which obliterated any coherent thought, or any sense of morality I might have once had.

After kidnapping me at gunpoint and beating me, I finally found the wherewithal to leave. I had nothing at that point. I had no idea that the emotional torment I was going through was also in large part to suddenly being off of the drug cocktail I had been on. I swore up & down that I would not return to that life – that I was going to do whatever it took to “fly right” and get my daughter back. I moved to the middle of nowhere (it seemed), and within a month of getting there, I went to a party where someone offered me a line of something. It had been so long, I figured it couldn’t hurt to have just a little coke once more. But it wasn’t coke, it was heroin, and I fell in love with the feeling it gave me. Within a few days I was physically addicted, as well.

Years of complete hell went by. I went through at least 9 detoxes and 2 rehab facilities, numerous psychiatrists, NA meetings, AA meetings, anything and everything, it seemed. The longest I was able to stay clean was after being in an inpatient rehab for four months. I stayed clean for about 2 or 3 months after that. Then I picked up some Vicodin®, and before long I was back to heroin again. How I kept my job during that time, I have no idea. I was in debt, constantly in danger of being arrested, and farther than ever from my daughter. I did not want to be using, I felt that almost immediately after I picked up this last time. But it seemed inevitable, and I felt so powerless against it. I was deathly, deathly afraid of withdrawal. At the same time, I knew something had to change.

I managed to get a job closer to my daughter, and I thought “this is it.” Something new – a chance to change. It wasn’t easy. I tried to kick on my own, with no success, because I could not go into work like that, and without the job I would have been homeless. After buying heroin for about a month into the new job, I ran into Suboxone® accidentally on the street; and I could not believe how well it worked. It was like heavenly intervention. My withdrawal symptoms were gone! I could keep working, not lose my job, not lose my health care, and feel normal again. I called everywhere and everyone to try to get into a program, for days & weeks on end. Waiting lists were months and months long. It was disheartening, but then after I took that first Suboxone pill, I knew I would never buy dope again. Ever. And I am proud to say that I haven’t even been tempted, even when I can’t find any Suboxone, I pray and stay strong. Even when it has been debilitating, I haven’t wavered. As I continue to get the Suboxone where I can, it continually blows my mind that getting heroin is easier than getting Suboxone. It’s almost as though the regulations on Suboxone are stacked in favor of doing what’s wrong instead of what’s right. Now I am at the mercy of other people for my medication, while I wait and wait to get into a program. I still have to risk arrest, just for trying to do the right thing and stay away from heroin.

I know that once I am in a program, I can start to truly reclaim my life. I have never felt so optimistic before. This medicine does not make you high, but it does enable you to function, which is all I have ever wanted. I think, honestly, that the more Suboxone is made available, widely, many people trapped in the hell of a heroin or other opiate addiction will see that there really is another way, one that will allow them to fully participate in the world and lives of those around them. I know that if I had not stumbled upon it as I did, I would have already lost my job, and anything else that means anything to me, including the will to keep trying. I’ve been through enough in my life. I really deserve this, and so do so many others.

Update - After two long months, and with the ever-loving support of my friends on this site, I finally got into a Suboxone maintenance program and, very gratefully, have the life I always desperately wanted. I spend half the week with my child, I've received a raise,  I'm volunteering again, and, most of all, I'm not looking back. None of this would have happened had I not entered this program, and, to be perfectly honest, it might not have happened if I had not run into Suboxone on the street, either. I remain blessed for both.

Back to List of Patient Stories

The Purpose of Buprenorphine Treatment:

To suppress the debilitating symptoms of cravings and withdrawal, enabling the patient to engage in therapy, counseling and support, so they can implement positive long-term changes in their lives which develops into the new healthy patterns of behavior necessary to achieve sustained addiction remission. - explain -

The National Alliance of Advocates for Buprenorphine Treatment is a non-profit organization charged with the mission to:

  1. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA Talk Paper, T0238, October 8, 2002, Subutex and Suboxone approved to treat opiate dependence.
  2. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Clinical Guidelines for the Use of Buprenorphine in the Treatment of Opioid Addiction. Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series 40. DHHS Publication No. (SMA) 04-3939. Rockville, Md: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2004.
  3. Subutex Discontinued in the US market in late 2011.
  4. Zubsolv (bup/nx sublingual tablet) FDA approved 7/3/2013 see buprenorphine pipeline graphic -in pharmacies now.
  5. Bunavail (bup/nx bucal film) FDA approved 6/6/2014 see buprenorphine pipeline graphic -in pharmacies now.
  6. Probuphine FDA approved 5/26/2016 - FDA Probuphine press release