As a parent, when you first discover something like your teen using heroin, of course you look for the most immediate solution. The boys said, “Suboxone.” It’s what everyone is taking — a prescription drug that stops the heroin cravings. That was the first thing I knew about it. No more methadone clinics for modern addicts. That rang sweet in my ears, since I have memories of seeing the addicts heading to the methadone clinics in the city where I grew up. Not a pretty picture in my mind.
Early last Easter morning, after visiting the police station and both boys allowed to leave in my custody, we headed to the emergency room. That’s a story in itself; but for this conversation the relevant point is that the psych evaluators gave me a list of doctors who are licensed suboxone prescribers. So we went with it.
Suboxone seems to be a successful alternative for Allen. It did not work for Danny. He took a high level of Subo (I guess that’s the short name) — 16 milligrams a day (in comparison, Allen takes 6 milligrams a day total). Dan relapsed after two months. More recently, he told me that after taking that level of Suboxone, he had built up a tolerance for the heroin. This means that when he went back to heroin, he needed more of it.
What I’m saying is that now, I realize Suboxone is controversial. I’ve visited some online conversations of addicts in recovery and they are divided over whether it makes sense to use this substitute drug. Some like it and say it’s helped them. Some say no, don’t go there; full sobriety is the only way.
I don’t know the answer. But I’m up for hearing from others. What do you think?