Solving the Opioid epidemic requires social, political, economic, and technological advances. There are many problems, and sometimes the solutions cause new problems as we’ve seen in the case of drugs such as Xanax becoming street drugs. One new approach that has a lot of potential is the relatively recent implementation of the drug implant.
What is it?
A buprenorphine implant is a small, thin, white device around an inch long and is often referred to as a Suboxone. Usually several are installed in a person’s arm. They are designed release a low-level of opioid in a person who is already in stable condition in their opioid recovery. This low level will help them taper off the drug and not get high while avoiding withdrawal symptoms.
Using buprenorphine to fight addiction is a controversial procedure, but we are beginning to see the evidence that many people are being helped by it. But because of the stigma, it can be hard for a person to get the medication they need, even when appropriately prescribed. And a person who is not adequately following medical procedures is at risk for withdrawal symptoms, using street drugs to manage the pain, and overdosing.
Drug implants allow a controlled dose over an extended period. Because it’s in the body kids or others can’t get access to it, and it’s difficult to tamper with to get a higher dosage as can happen with other forms of medication. Having a subdermal implant means you can’t forget about taking your medication, and it can’t get stolen. Buprenorphine can help patients stay in treatment and can save lives.
The drug has several other benefits. It suppresses one’s cravings to use opioids, and it has a ceiling effect which means the drug blocks the opioid receptors allowing only a certain amount of opioids into the brain and preventing other opioids from having an effect.
There is high hopes that implants such as buprenorphine can be a game changer in the fight against addiction. Doctors prescribed far too many opioids and now it seems the pendulum may have shifted too far in the other direction so that some people can’t get the medicine they need. Drug implants might provide a third way that helps the right people get the right amount of medication without letting things get out of hand.
Buprenorphine implants have been used in the public since 2016 and it’s important to watch these results, but so far the data seems promising. Many people feel that this implant has saved their lives. Hopefully that trend will only continue. If you are addicted to opioids—or worry that you may become addicted—do what you can to educate yourself about the options available to you. There are many ways to recover, and a drug addiction implant is one option that’s on the table for some people at a stable phase of their recovery. Call us to learn more about your options, and to discuss your personal and family history. Our number is (866) 653-6220.