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PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 2:10 pm 
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My husband is adamant that my son not go on suboxone. He feels he has only been using heroin for less than a year and that we should try all other avenues first. I agreed at first but now I think our son is asking for help and we need to listen. He has stopped several times on his own and it was painful to watch but he always relapsed. He has detoxed in a hospital setting and relapsed. He was in-patient for 20 days and relapsed. He says that using suboxone is the only thing that keeps him from craving and relapsing. He buys it on the street if he can get it. I want him under a doctors care if he is going to take suboxone. He is in an out patient treatment program and just relapsed. He wants to take suboxone but won't be able to without us paying for it and my husband is refusing. Is it the answer for a 20 year old who really has only been using for a year or is this for the more hard core long term addict? How do I convince my husband. Should I try and convince my husband.

He does not like any 12 step program, he has problems in big group settings but has made progress in a smaller out patient program which he goes to three days a week for three hours a day. Would adding suboxone to his out-patient program be a good thing? Someone please help me help my son. I don't know what to do anymore.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 3:25 pm 
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I am a mother and recovering addict myself. Heaven forbid my son inherit this horrible disease of addiction, but if he did, and opiates were the problem, the first thing I would try would be Suboxone. To me and many others it is a miracle drug. It can work, and your son says it works for him. You are lucky you have caught this early and he doesn't have to proceed to be the "hard core long term addict". Thats where he is heading if you are not successful. So do whatever you have to do for him now. Believe me when I say you are fighting for his life.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:47 pm 
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In my opinion this is not even a close call. From everything you have said, your son is a real, live, living example of what the statistics already tells us. Multiple studies have shown exactly what your son has shown - that being traditional treatment has about a 90% relapse rate. Your son is living proof of that. However, studies using Suboxone have shown much better odds at staying off of opiates. Nothing is 100%. Hell, 50% is hard to get to but that is about the ballpark of what some studies have shown.

As to convincing your husband, perhaps the way to go about that is having him hear these things directly from an addiction expert. Would he go to talk with a councilor, social worker, or someone who could explain all of these things to him? If he is going to stand in the face of everyone and anyone who tells him something he doesn't want to hear, the problem is going to be much bigger than just to use Suboxone or not to use Suboxone.

I wish I could tell you how to get through to your husband, but I cannot. I can tell you that I think you are very much on track with looking to getting your son on Suboxone treatment - before it's too late. I really think it's one of the best, if not the best, solution to your son's problem. I wish you all of the best in making this happen.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 5:56 pm 
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Your husband has to come to understand that this is not just a matter of willpower. Your son is lucky that he has been using for less than a year, but that doesn't mean that this isn't serious. The fact that he has already tried traditional recovery methods and continues to relapse makes him a good candidate for Suboxone treatment.

There is nothing to be ashamed of in treating the disease of addiction with medication. It works for many people. Young people with addiction are especially vulnerable to relapse because their brains have not stopped developing yet and many people your son's age have not fully developed the ability to forsee the consequences of their actions. Impulse control is also not totally developed yet. Suboxone helps with these issues because it suppresses cravings - which are a huge relapse trigger, and because it blocks the effects of other opiates so even if he did relapse it wouldn't be any fun. Suboxone treatment can provide a period of stability in which your son would be freed from the obsession to use heroin, during which he can work on the underlying issues of his addiction, make new friends and new hobbies, develop a strong support system and learn how to handle the ups and downs of life without turning to opiates to cope.

If you think your husband would be open to reading some educational materials on Suboxone (buperenorphine) treatment, I'd say check out the materials on the National Advocates for the Advancement of Buprenorphine Treatment website, NAABT.org. There are many good articles there that explain the medical (brain disease) model of addiction and how Suboxone treatment works in clear, easy to understand terms. There is also support information for parents and loved ones of addicted individuals.

Your son has a serious illness. I don't know if he is injecting the heroin or not, but if he is then that adds another dimension of danger to the situation. Addiction is progressive, and every time he relapses he is in danger of overdose as well as of contracting illness or infection. Addiction also hurts our spirit - the shame and the stigma are a lot to overcome and he will need all of your love and support.

Please read through the forum. You will find many stories of people, myself included, who were able to turn our lives around because of Suboxone. Suboxone is not a cure-all and there is still a lot of hard recovery work that has to be done, but for many of us, Suboxone was the only thing that made doing that work possible. Keep posting and let us know how it goes.

If your husband continues to refuse to help financially, please look into other financing options for your son's treatment. There is a patient assistance plan from the manufacturer, and in some states medicaid will pay for Suboxone treatment. Good luck, and take care of yourself too. Naranon is a good resource for the loved-ones of addicts.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 1:42 pm 
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Hi madyson007 -

I hope you are able to read these good replies.

I understand your husband's position. In my life, I have 'cast things in concrete', only to find out later that I was wrong.

You and your son are in a bit of a pickle. Let's face it, the facts... You probably know - and I AM SURE YOUR SON KNOWS - plenty of people who have overdosed and not made it out alive. This is serious.

Our town mayor's son died of this exact disease. I am not trying to scare you, but when I heard - I REALLY WONDERED - was he on SUBOXONE?...

If your husband loves your son, then that's the brutal reality. If he loves your son, then looking at another solution, and looking at the RESULTS (You now he fails on abstinence based - see how he is doing 6 months into suboxone?...)

Facts and such may work. For me, (similar bad attitude on therapy - and counseling in a different setting) - I had to hit the real reality that I DID NOT HAVE THE SOLUTION.. If I did - things would be all better. I am a dad, and it's hard to admit those things. But I love more than feeling like I failed.

It's my prayer you don't have to find that reality in an Emergency Room. When your husband realizes that he can't fix your son (it's a disease like diabetes - not just easy to fix - or say 'no') - then the fact's will probably help.

This is serious. I hope and pray you find a way to help your husband see, that if you don't look at medical solutions, you are facing potential OD - and most certainly a life that is not lived normally - with all types of manipulations, etc.

Again, I hope this isn't too harsh. I would never put something out there just to be harsh - but this can/will be life and death.

Good Luck - may LOVE prevail. Please Post Us - we CARE!


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 4:08 pm 
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I am going to be blunt, tell your husband that your son could die without the proper care. About 2 years ago in my hometown, a girl was buying Suboxone on the street and had used it successfully for months.Her family would not help her with getting into a Suboxone program because they thought it was an excuse to stay on drugs. Her supply ran dry, and she went back to Heroin. When she did not get the high she was expecting, due to the Suboxone usage, she took more Heroin, overdosed, and died. A very preventable accident had she gotten the proper care.
Has your husband ever used Heroin? Or has he ever been addicted to opiates? Because unless he has, his opinion means nothing- nobody should judge what they do not understand! Ultimately, your son is the only one who has the ability to change and while Suboxone is helpful, it is not a cure. The WILL of you son must want to stay clean. Suboxone is a very helpful tool to make that a possibility, do not deny him of the one thing that could keep him on the right path.
It is just as important for you and your husband to educate yourselves on this disease and on Buprenorphine from reputable resources. If Suboxone was not so successful at improving the quality of life for those that use it correctly, I would not be here today. As Diary of a Quitter suggested, go to www.naabt.org and learn about the medication and opiate addiction. They also have a forum, www.addictionsurvivors.org where you can speak with other family members who have someone suffering with this problem.
Please keep us informed of your situation, and best wishes.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 8:04 pm 
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I feel so lucky to have found this place. It confirms what I have been feeling. I am going to force my husband to read these responses. I have looking into suboxone for about 6 months now. I even called a nurse at the suboxone hot line and spoke at length with her. My sons current counselor is not a huge fan of suboxone but will certainly help us if that is the avenue that is chosen.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 9:27 pm 
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Hi Madyson007, I had a very prominent pain management MD who also is a partner in a Rapid Detox Recovery Center, about 7 years ago I had a bad shoulder surgery and slowly became addicted to opiates. My doctor convinced my insurance to pay for the Rapid Detox program which can cost in the neighborhood of $15,000.00 and up.

It was hell, I was in a hospital for about 5 days then I went to a very swanky private recovery home for another 4 days. By the time I was scheduled to go home I was still going through withdrawal, nothing major but I was craving, I was having panic attacks and I was very uncomfortable in general.

After 3 months I was back on opiates because my back was killing me, I could hardly walk. Of course the meds were prescribed by the same doctor that directed the rapid detox.

A few years go by and I have another major surgery that leads to stronger opiates. I was miserable, I was so addicted I could barely get out of bed, I hurt everywhere, I had zero motivation to participate in anything social, no joy.. nothing. Thank God I stumbled across an article about Suboxone. When I asked my pain management MD about Suboxone he scoffed and said that it doesn't work. I found another doctor. The point I'm trying to make is that a lot of doctors and treatment centers wont even suggest Suboxone because they would much rather bill you for detox treatments than prescribe a pill. $uboxone digs into their pockets.

I'll be opiate free 2 weeks next Tuesday. I swear to God this medication has change... saved my life. I told my girl that I have been "recharged, re-born and rejuvenated". I feel 100% better than I did when I had the rapid detox.

I am still in shock that I feel so much better, actually I feel completely healed. Two weeks ago I could barely get out of bed, yesterday I rode my bike 10 miles... and it was a blast, I felt like I could have gone on forever. I feel strong and healthy. I predict that within 2 or 3 years you will hear a lot about Suboxone.

Suggest to your husband that he reconsider Suboxone, bake him some cookies... If that doesn't work try a baseball bat :wink: Good luck!

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 6:26 pm 
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It's too bad he doesn't like 12 step programs. I went to several treatment centers in my teens and early 20's and I hated those and always relapsed afterwards, but I finally got clean at 26 just from going to NA. I too, don't like groups, and 12 step programs have a much different approach to helping one than a treatment center. I mean you can go sit in the back of the room and say and do nothing for a year and noone will bother you. Perhaps he could give that a shot. You don't even have to get clean first as long as you are not disruptive.

I'm not an authority on Suboxone at all. I think it does help with cravings, and obviously your son has already experienced that. Personally, I would probably not pay for it for my child if they weren't willing to do anything else in addition. I don't believe Suboxone will completely sure the addiction long term. Maybe you can bargain with him. My own personal experience has taught me that 12 step programs are the best treatment for addiction. The only other substitutes would be church or long term counseling, but the people who stay clean long term from those alone are few and far between. In terms of cost methodone may be an option for him as well, though this has a very negative impact as well, though not as negative as using heroin regularly. But a plan could be methodone to start, which is cheap, then move to Suboxone when he can afford it on his own, then hopefully someday off of everything. I'm just against making it too easy on the addict/bailing him out of taking responsibility for his actions. This has never helped any addict to anything but continue to harm himself. That being said, I am currently on Subxone because I relapsed on pain medication, and it works wonderfully well. Of course, I am paying for it myself. It's among the cheapest in my town. I paid 250 for the first week, then it's around 90 a week going forward including the Suboxone and the price goes down as the dosage goes down. I also go to NA meetings daily and work their program. Good luck.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 7:57 pm 
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I have begged, pleaded, bribed and cried...I can not convince him to even attend a 12 step program let alone committ to one. He does go to an out patient treatment program three days a week for three hours a day so that is something. Any advice on how to make him want to go 12 steps, I would be more than happy to listen to.

subjohn wrote:
It's too bad he doesn't like 12 step programs. I went to several treatment centers in my teens and early 20's and I hated those and always relapsed afterwards, but I finally got clean at 26 just from going to NA. I too, don't like groups, and 12 step programs have a much different approach to helping one than a treatment center. I mean you can go sit in the back of the room and say and do nothing for a year and noone will bother you. Perhaps he could give that a shot. You don't even have to get clean first as long as you are not disruptive.

I'm not an authority on Suboxone at all. I think it does help with cravings, and obviously your son has already experienced that. Personally, I would probably not pay for it for my child if they weren't willing to do anything else in addition. I don't believe Suboxone will completely sure the addiction long term. Maybe you can bargain with him. My own personal experience has taught me that 12 step programs are the best treatment for addiction. The only other substitutes would be church or long term counseling, but the people who stay clean long term from those alone are few and far between. In terms of cost methodone may be an option for him as well, though this has a very negative impact as well, though not as negative as using heroin regularly. But a plan could be methodone to start, which is cheap, then move to Suboxone when he can afford it on his own, then hopefully someday off of everything. I'm just against making it too easy on the addict/bailing him out of taking responsibility for his actions. This has never helped any addict to anything but continue to harm himself. That being said, I am currently on Subxone because I relapsed on pain medication, and it works wonderfully well. Of course, I am paying for it myself. It's among the cheapest in my town. I paid 250 for the first week, then it's around 90 a week going forward including the Suboxone and the price goes down as the dosage goes down. I also go to NA meetings daily and work their program. Good luck.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 8:00 pm 
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I have tried to post my blog but it won't let me. If you do decide to follow my blog please don't judge me. I am often emotional and contradictory but I think that just may be the way it is in this complicated world of addiction. I will try one last time to post my blog. I would love any advice, thoughts, prayers and positive thoughts.

Google: "A Mom's Serious Blunder..." or madyson007 @ wordpress . com


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 11:03 am 
Madyson - You have already gotten some good advice here. I am going to chime in on this too.....strictly from the "mommy" perspective. I've got 3 kids - two in their early to mid 20s and one still a teen. Fortunately it is me who became addicted to opiates and not one of them. I say "fortunately" because opiate addiction is not something I would wish upon anyone, least of all my kids. I have found great hope and help from Suboxone.....I am a big believer in it. Having said that....I will go on with my "mommy perspective." There is NOTHING I wouldn't do, NO length I wouldn't go to to save the life of my child! I don't care if it's right, wrong, or indifferent....first and foremost, my kid has to live! I would not risk his life in order to do the "right" thing. The truth is the "right" thing in terms of treating addiction is and has been up for debate for years and years. If you ask ten different recovering addicts what the "secret" or "key" to recovery is you'll probably get ten different answers. In my opinion, you've got to help your son figure out what works for him. And that has to start with just getting him clean and keeping him clean for more than 5 minutes! It sounds like what has worked is Suboxone. You've got to find a way to get him into a legitimate Sub doctor and get him his own Rx for Sub. Is that going to fix all the problems and cure his addiction? No, it's not. But it will buy him and you some time. It could possibly keep him safe and alive and thinking somewhat clearly enough for long enough to really get into recovery. I went through the motions for a while, too, with an abstinence-based treatment program and 12 step meetings, but found that I was unable to make real progress - the cravings and obsessions to use and feel better were too strong. I think this is the case for a lot of people who try and "fail" abstinence-based recovery. Until we're able to do something about the changes/damage that's been done chemically to our brains, we just can't get a firm footing in recovery.
Please read all the replies you've already gotten again and read them to your husband. There are people here (Diary of a Quitter and Shelwoy in particular) who are studying addictions and plan to proceed to careers in the field. Take to heart what they have said.
As a Mom - priority number one would be to keep my child alive. The rest is secondary and can be worked on over time. Your son is sick. It doesn't matter if it's been less than one year on heroin. For God's sake....it's heroin!! The list of bad things that could happen to him because of this is not acceptable! Get him on Suboxone and then go from there. Do whatever it takes. If my husband didn't agree....I'm sorry, I'd get a job and pay for it myself. No way I'd risk losing my child!! Keep him alive and off the street and work out the details later! Just my 2 cents!


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 12:15 pm 
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I might be missing something here but "less than a year" is not a lot of time to become an addict.... How much less than a year? I see this almost as much of an issue of dependency as it is addiction. Naturally the addiction is the more serious... but the two seem to be inter-related.

Mady, didn't you say your son is 20 yo. He isn't a baby anymore and IMO he should be taking some responsibility for his own recovery.... if thats what he wants. I don't believe he needs your permission or the fathers, to get into a program. So apparently money and dependency is the issue?? If you are determined to finance this... why don't you pay it yourself? Do either your son or you have an income?

It sounds like the two of you are totally dependent [at least financially] on your husband. It doesn't matter if the father has an addiction background... he is till the father and apparently is in control of the finances. So he should have at least a 50% say in this.... and apparently in this case, because of money has 100% control. Which is too bad.

My question is... why is this young man independent enough to go out and buy heroin to the point of addiction but is totally dependent on his parents for financing his recovery? I have kids myself... so I can understand your love and concern. Thank God none of them have this problem... at least I'm not aware of it. But if one did and was 20 yo... I'd have to think long and hard before paying for suboxone treatment. I can understand where your husband is coming from regarding taking his time and making sure this is the right course of action for your son.

You say there has been family counseling regarding suboxone treatment and the counselor "is not a big fan". There could be a reason for that in your particular situation?? Ask the counselor why he isn't recommending Suboxone? Get a 2nd opinion.

Many of us can recall tragic situations with regards to addiction... and god forbid that happen to your son. But when does a 20yo step up and take at least some financial responsbility for his own recovery?? It costs a lot of money to be an addict and it costs to recover...


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 1:26 pm 
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My son was in college for a year and we financially supported him...he did quite well academically but at the end of the year he was an emotional wreck and had at some point during that year switched from pills/percs/valium etc... to heroin. He came back in the summer and had a job and that financed the addiction. He has sold his ADD meds and that had been quite profitable for him. Right now he has no free access to his car, and no access to his ADD meds anymore and no job. He is clean at this very moment but he is 20 years old and money is one of his triggers. As soon he gets a job and earns money I think we will be right back where we started. His counselor says wait on getting a job for a couple of months and focus on recovery. And...It has been a year because he switched over to Heroin last year when he was home on winter break.

I told my son today if he is facing a relapse and can't control himself. I will find a way to get him into a suboxone program. He is clean right now which is making it very hard to convince my husband suboxone is the way to go. I know we are teetering on the edge here...but my husband doesn't know that. He thinks it is all a matter of will power and free choice. He is 20 years old I can not keep him locked up forever, he needs a job or to go back to school. Right now he can't find the motivation for anything. He is in survival mode, we all are.

http://madyson007.wordpress.com This blog has all the details of how we got here... and it all started with a freaking wisdom tooth.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 3:13 pm 
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Madyson:

We have very similar situation - our 20 yo came back home for a winter break, behaved strangely and when we confronted him admitted that he has been using pills for 2 years or so. He wanted himself to do suxboxone, we support him and so far suxodone worked well for him (it is early to say, but so far it is good). He is back in college ( and we worry a lot that something there might trigger the relapse), he will be coming home every few weeks to see sub doc and psycologist.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 1:09 am 
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He's completely clean and free of any withdrawals? Why in the world would anyone get on suboxone in that case? He's really in a perfect situation to stay clean. It sounds like he acknowledges he has a problem. He just needs a spritual/emotional boast. I'm biased on 12 step programs, but what about a church group? Lots of larger churches and denominations have addiction targeted groups. Or continued counseling of some sort, private or group. Some universities will have free or low cost programs as part of degree programs. As a matter of fact, a university in my town just started a free Suboxone program. They were starting a week after I started. I didn't want to wait, nor was I really interested in being experimented on. But it was probably fine. I don't know if it included any counseling. I probably did.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:45 am 
Subjohn - Seriously?!?!? You think just because this kid is "clean for the moment" that he's in a "perfect position to stay clean"?! Surely you know better than that. Most all of us here have gotten clean at one point or another. That part sucks, but it's the easy part! If just getting clean was the end all, none of us would need Suboxone.
Madyson's son's drug abuse has escalated rapidly over the course of a couple of years - His addiction has screwed him out of going to college (for now), has led him to sell his ADD meds, he's graduated from pain pills to heroin, he can't even have a job because if he gets money in his hands he'll spend it on dope! Come on - he needs more than a "spiritual boost" to stay clean! Madyson's son is going to end up dead or in jail if he doesn't get a handle on this. He's just a kid. I was in my 40s and had lived my life completely clean and sober, never in any kind of trouble at all, until my addiction to opiates started at around age 40. I had years of life experience, was educated and reasonably intelliegent and had a Hell of a lot at stake and I couldn't stay clean! I'm telling you....there is a reason that abstinence-based recovery has such a staggering failure rate!! Just willing yourself to stay clean and going to meetings constantly aint gonna work for most of us for very long. Subjohn, you're living proof of that fact.
I still say Madyson's son is a perfect candidate for Suboxone and I hope she can get him the help he needs.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 11:35 am 
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Yeah, I stand by my words. Suboxone is not the end all, be all of opiate addiction treatment. It doesn't cure additction, it "satisfies" addiction for a period of time intended to be transitional from using other opiates. Yes, this person is at a high risk and if he does nothing, experience shows he will go back to using and everything will get worse. If you look around, you will see that Suboxone has caused a lot of people problems. It's not something one picks up lightly. Yes, being already clean is a much better situation for staying clean than being currently using. That's obvious, isn't it?


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 11:45 am 
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This is a very important decision for this family.

I didn't see the 2 yrs drug use. The first post says he has been using less than a year and has been off and on during that time. I believe she said he is getting about 9 hrs out-patient therapy weekly. The dad says NO to subs at this point. Has he and the son spoken to an addiction specialist?

I don't think anyone here should be advising this lady to get her 20 yo son on suboxone at this point. Yes he is a "candidate". But the local professionals should make this call after thoroughly talking with BOTH parents and son. We don't have the total picture here. All we know is the limited amt of info she has posted... and part of that says he isn't actively using at the present time. I understand he is currently without money and when he has money... buys drugs. Why not let the local pros work this out so he can get a job and then decide for himself if he wants subs.. and pays the bill himself. Wouldn't this would be better than another "rescue"? That could be what the father and locals are looking at....

Suboxone is a powerful drug and many [uninformed] young people think once they get on it... they will be able to get high indefinitely and play with dosages like methadone. I'd like to know if he has been properly educated as to the pros and cons of suboxone.... hopefully, he is learning this in his OP therapy.

I say we offer support and answer her specific questions so she can be educated/informed about suboxone. Then let the system work where she lives. Hopefully, she lives in an area where all the right resources are available.

Mady, ask your son to come here so we can speak directly to him.

God bless you and him!!


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:09 pm 
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Location: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Hi Madyson007,
First congrats on finding this site and for trying to help your Son! I am NOT a Dr. or expert on addiction But, I am a recovering addict and that in itself should give me some credibility on the suject! I started pain medication after back surgery, but my addiction soon took over and I started to abuse my meds almost from the start. By the time I was ready to ask / BEG for help I was using 300 to 350 mgs. of Oxycodone a day and it was co$ting me upwards of $1500. a week!! I came clean with my Dr. & myself back in Feb. '09 and heve been clean since then! I am on Rx of 16 mgs. of Suboxone a day and therapy / counseling twice a month. This has been working for me and without it I know I would be Dead or close to it and wishing I was!!! I hope you can bring your husband around because you and him should be part of the recovery process. You should use this Forum and the websites that the others have given you to educate yourself and your husband.. Ask your husband if your Son had Cancer would he be denying him chemo & other life saving steps?? I don't mean to scare you or your husband but this disease can be deadly if left unchecked. You, your Husband & your Son deserve better and the right medication and counseling will give you a chance to live a some what " Normal " life.... Don't let the disease fool you it is always in the backround doing Pushup's`and waiting for the chance to strike.... DON'T let it!! I just wanted to chime in with my experience in case it can help someone else...I wish You & your Family the Best of luck. I hope your Son gets as commited as you are to fighting this disease!! Please keep us posted on your SUCCESS!!!

God Bless
TW


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Fond Du Lac Psychiatry
Dr. Jeffrey Junig, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Board Certified Psychiatrist
  • Asst Clinical Professor, Medical College of Wisconsin

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