Suboxone is a popularly approved medication to treat opiate withdrawal. It is one of two forms of the medication buprenorphine, which is an opiate agonist originally developed to treat pain problems. Suboxone works by binding to opiate receptors in the brain, which are the same receptors that morphine, heroin and other opiates bind to.
If you are not familiar with Suboxone, you might be more familiar with Methadone. Methadone was an earlier form of harm reduction treatments used to treat heroin addiction. Although Suboxone has treated thousands of patients struggling with opioid addiction, the drug is not without its risks. Critics continue to express concern over the lasting impact of Suboxone use when it comes to increasing dependency.
One huge concern of Suboxone use is the potential side effects of mixing other drugs with the substance. Suboxone can have dangerous interactions with other substances which pose an immediate risk to Suboxone users.
How Suboxone Works
In order to better understand the risk of combining drugs with Suboxone, it is important to understand how the drug works. Suboxone is a combination of the drugs buprenorphine and naloxone. It functions as a partial opioid agonist and diminishes cravings as well as prevents other opioids from reacting to the brain’s receptors. In other words, even if you try to get high off opioids, you won’t.
Taking other drugs while on Suboxone can be life threatening. If you are on Suboxone, pay very close attention to the following three substances. Combining these drugs with Suboxone can cause a very dangerous, even fatal interaction.
3 Drugs You Should Never Mix With Suboxone:
- Benzodiazepines (“Benzos”)
Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium, Klonopin) are drugs usually prescribed to alleviate anxiety and treat insomnia. They are depressant drugs, or “downers,” because they sedate the central nervous system, which slows the heart rate, lowers blood pressure and depresses breathing. Because Suboxone is also a depressant drug, the two together create a double-whammy effect. The combination can cause a severe lack of coordination, impaired judgment, unconsciousness, respiratory failure, and even death.
The effects of Suboxone and cocaine are extremely dangerous because both drugs are on opposite sides of the spectrum. Cocaine is a stimulant, or “upper,” while Suboxone is a depression, or “downer.” When you combine cocaine with Suboxone, it actually reduces the amount of buprenorphine that is in your bloodstream. When you have less buprenorphine in your body, you start to feel opioid withdrawal symptoms.
Combining cocaine with Suboxone increases the risk of a cocaine overdose. Since Suboxone is a depressant, it counteracts the effects of cocaine. This means users end up taking more and more cocaine because they do not feel the effects they normally would on their regular amount. Typically, users start to believe that can handle more cocaine, even when they cannot. The increase in cocaine used can result in an overdose.
Mixing alcohol with any medication is never a good idea, especially Suboxone. Just like benzos, alcohol is a depressant. Alcohol is even more of a problem than benzos because it is so readily available. An uninformed Suboxone user may not even consider the risks of drinking alcohol. However, combining alcohol and Suboxone can produce the same exacerbated effects such as unconsciousness and respiratory failure. These side effects can be dangerous and even fatal.It is so important to know all the risks you are taking with newly prescribed medication. According to statistics, there were 30,135 buprenorphine-related emergency room visits in 2010. It should come as no surprise that 59 percent of these visits involved additional drugs.
As Suboxone’s popularity increases, it is important to understand the dangers of mixing Suboxone with other substances. If you are taking Suboxone or similar drugs, it might be a good idea for you to consider seeking help on going off those drugs completely. Seeking professional treatment can help you not rely on any drugs in your recovery. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
By Cheryl Steinberg
It’s clear by now that drugs have intense effects on brain chemistry and structure. It’s also come to light, as we’ve recently reported, that memory might play a profound role in substance abuse and addiction.
In fact, memories associated with drug use are thought to be a leading force driving the impulses of drug addiction. That’s because the brain reinforces memories by giving them emotional weight, among other things. The result, then, is a personalized blueprint of rewards and cues that guide us in our fundamental decision-making.
And drug use, with its intense effects, creates memories that are so powerful that they hijack the brain system, turning physiology – the organic, natural processes, into pathology, or disease, in layman’s terms.
Researchers have identified the mechanism in the brain that enables this powerful role of memory in drug addiction. And their discovery opens up a whole new area of research for targeted therapy that would change or deactivate this mechanism, making drug addiction less compulsive.
Turning off the mechanism would be like “diminishing the emotional impact or the emotional content of the memory, so it decreases the motivation to relapse,” said Barbara Sorg, a professor of neuroscience at Washington State University, Vancouver. Her findings can be found in the latest Journal of Neuroscience.
Cocaine and the Brain: Can Weakened Drug-Related Memories Treat Drug Addiction?
Washington State University researchers Sorg and Megan Slaker, a doctoral candidate in neuroscience, conducted their study on male rats. The rats were given cocaine in a specific setting – a ‘drug cage’ – so as to condition them to associate the drug experience with that place. With each new experience taking cocaine, the rats would draw on memories from previous experiences in that location, reinforced them with new information and in effect fortifying the drug-using memory.
In one group of rats in the study, the researchers removed brain structures that act as ‘nets’ surrounding a high-order area of the brain essential for attention, cognition, inhibitory behavior, learning, and memory. And the nets’ ability to strengthen or weaken is affected by memories as they are recalled and reinforced.
Their findings are promising: the rats that had had their nets removed were less interested in being in the drug cage.
“When we manipulated them and removed these nets from the prefrontal cortex, we saw that our animals had poorer memories,” said Slaker. “That was a very novel finding since no one else has ever looked at these structures within the prefrontal cortex in relation to a drug memory.”
Sorg noted that the procedure more likely dulled the rats’ drug-using memory rather than erase the drug memory, altogether, and in effect, lessened its emotional power. These findings open up the possibilities of producing a way to specifically target such brain structures and processes as a protein (the “nets” in the study) in order to counteract cocaine’s powerful influence over memories.
Memories related to drug use are often more intense than other memories, making it difficult to break the cycle of drug abuse and addiction. It’s true: for people seeking recovery from cocaine, alcohol, and other drugs, it’s essential that they change the people, places, and things in their lives that they associate with their drug use because this will more than likely lead to relapse. For drug addicts, the ‘high’ comes more from the anticipation of getting and taking a drug than when the drug is taken and ‘kicks in.’ That alone should indicate the powerful role memory plays in drug addiction. Please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135 today to speak with a professional about addiction and treatment options. Or for suggestions on how to help a loved one who struggles.
By Cheryl Steinberg
You may or may not be aware of this but, some of the highly-illegal drugs today were once used in virtually any kind of cough drop, tincture, or formula to treat anything from cough to nausea to insomnia. And many of these medical preparations that included drugs like heroin and cocaine we even available over-the-counter!
Nowadays, there are much stricter regulations on what have been found to be illicit drugs, as well as other drugs that are prescribed for our ailments.
But, there are some surprising ways in which illicit drugs are being used today. Here are 5 illegal drugs that will cure you…
#1. Cocaine for wound care
First, cocaine is an effective local anesthetic and, once applied, it numbs the area very quickly, usually in less than two minutes. Secondly, cocaine is effective at stopping the bleeding; it’s a vasoconstrictor, which is a drug that constricts – or narrows – the blood vessels. The smaller a blood vessel gets, the bleeding occurs.
Even many pediatricians recommend using cocaine on children’s wounds because of cocaine’s properties that make it a valuable tool for treating cuts and lacerations.
#2. LSD for Alcoholism
Studies show that your chances of staying away from alcohol will be dramatically increased after tripping on acid. There was an extensive study done in the 1960s and ’70s that revealed how recovering alcoholics are much less likely to drink to excess and how some even stopped drinking altogether for several months.
The reason why this works could be due to the LSD helping the participants to feel more confident, happy and satisfied with their lives, which, in turn, decreased the feelings they had that led most of them to abuse alcohol in the first place. The alcohol-abstaining effects from the one LSD trip lasted for about six months, at which point, if LSD were legal, the patients would be able to return to a treatment clinic for another dose, repeating the process until they were able to transition into sobriety.
#3. Heroin for women in labor
Heroin is an opiate, in the same class of drugs as painkillers, such as oxycodone and morphine. However, heroin itself is actually much more effective than morphine and takes effect in about two or three minutes. In fact, The National Health Service (NHS) in Britain recommends giving it to people in extreme pain, people in surgery, and women in labor.
Now, just to be clear, the NHS is, in fact, made up of medical professionals. The practice in Britain is to give women in labor an injection of heroin to help with the contractions as they give birth. The one-time use doesn’t do any damage and doesn’t cause dependency, because it is only administered when the baby is on its way out of its mother’s body.
#4. MDMA for PTSD
MDMA, or Ecstasy, has been shown to help treat people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The reason for this is actually the same reason that the drug is popular for recreational use: It releases large amounts of the feel-good chemicals serotonin and oxytocin in your brain, which makes you relaxed, euphoric, and feel at ease. This results in relieving the stress experienced by PTSD sufferers.
When used in a therapeutic setting, MDMA allows PTSD patients to relive their experiences more easily, which is crucial to overcoming the disorder. Ecstasy lets the sufferers do so without being overwhelmed, by activating the area of the brain responsible for controlling fear and stress. Over time, this results in long-term reduction of fear.
#5. Methamphetamine for ADHD and obesity
Desoxyn, the purest form of meth, is prescribed to obese people for quick short-term weight loss. It’s only prescribed as a short-term treatment for obvious reasons, since meth is highly addictive as well as overall catastrophic to your well-being. Meth is rarely prescribed in this way and only when all other treatments fail.
Desoxyn is also prescribed by U.S. doctors to treat ADHD. Considering that sufferers of ADHD typically exhibit symptoms of jitteriness and inattentiveness, which are also associated with meth use, it nevertheless has a therapeutic effect on people with ADHD. When it comes to the brain, nothing is simple, and meth. Like other stimulants, helps regulate brain chemicals called neurotransmitters.
Drugs and dosage are carefully controlled by your medical providers who can monitor the results and adjust your medication accordingly by a medical professional who can monitor the results. In general, you shouldn’t self-medicate any medical problem with alcohol or illicit drugs and you should only take medications as prescribed. If you are struggling with substance abuse and or a psychological disorder, such as PTSD, ADHD, or depression, Palm Partners is here for you. We offer dual diagnosis treatment for people who are ready to end the cycle of drug abuse. Please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
You are probably already aware that drugs, in general, can take their toll on your physical appearance. Drugs like alcohol, nicotine, and crystal meth are known offenders. But did you know that cocaine also leaves its users with characteristically disfigured features? The faces of cocaine users are at the very least drawn and bloated but can be grotesquely changed by heavy cocaine use.
Faces of Cocaine: Nose
When cocaine powder is insufflated, or snorted, it is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream but, it also causes the blood vessels in the lining of the nose passages to shrink. Shortly after use, the blood vessels widen again, and the tell-tale sign of a cokehead: red, runny stuffed-up nose becomes evident.
After repeated and prolonged use, cocaine causes a loss of blood supply to the septum, which is the thin dividing wall between your nostrils. This becomes damaged, causing an erosion of the septum that can leave a gaping hole between the two nose passages. Since the septum acts as a sort of load-bearing beam, such as in a building’s foundation; when this goes, the bridge of the nose can collapse. This is not a pretty site and leaves the faces of cocaine users with a “smushed-in” look.
Faces of Cocaine: Skin
Cocaine, like other amphetamines, has the ability to cause hallucinations and psychosis. One typical experience of heavy coke users is the feeling of bugs, called ‘cocaine bugs’ or ‘snow bugs,’ crawling under their skin. Some users describe the sensation of cocaine bugs as biting, burning or itching, and will in turn scratch and pick at their skin until it bleeds. Because of this, some coke users’ faces have sores, scratches, and scars.
Faces of Cocaine: Weight loss
Like other amphetamines, cocaine suppresses your appetite and, after extended use, cocaine abusers will experience rather rapid weight loss and this shows up in the faces of cocaine users who are typically emaciated-looking and pale.
Faces of Cocaine: Coke Bloat
The infamous coke bloat…the best way to describe this is really just to tell you to google images for “Kate Moss.” Throughout the years, her face has undergone many a transformation – and we’re not talking about the usual celebrity plastic surgery. No, Kate Moss’ face has been dealt a brutal blow from well, blow. Other than the obvious accelerated signs of aging, Moss’ face has taken on the uneven puffiness that is characteristic of faces of cocaine addicts.
In addition, there’s this: the cases linked to what became known as flesh-eating cocaine. Batches of coke were cut with the drug levamisole, which is used in veterinary medicine. This is noteworthy because, the levamisole-contaminated cocaine is so widespread that is has been found to be in the cocaine supply of the entire United States.
Patients have been showing up with patches of dying flesh on their faces and ears and this has been linked to the tainted cocaine. The wounds typically surface a day after exposure due to an immune reaction that damages blood vessels supplying the skin. Without any blood supply, the skin is starved of oxygen, turns a dark purple, and dies off. The faces of cocaine users who were exposed to levamisole are marred by disfiguring wounds and scars from large sections of skin dying off.
If you or someone you know needs treatment for Cocaine Addiction, please call us at 800-951-6135 or visit us online at www.palmpartners.com.
What are Speedballs?
The practice of speedballing among drug users dates back to the 1930s however, it got a lot of media and public attention in March of 1982 with the death of beloved actor and comedian John Belushi.
A speedball is the mixture of cocaine and heroin together or one being used right after the other most likely through IV use but it can also be insufflated, or snorted. People do speedballs because of the intense high it produces; often described as getting the best of both worlds, the user gets both the euphoric high of cocaine in addition to that of the heroin. I personally liked shooting the coke first and, as I started to come down from that, which would produce some anxiety, I would then shoot the heroin. That would ease the cocaine come down and replace it with that opiate high I was craving.
The term speedballing can also be applied to use of prescription painkillers, benzodiazepines or barbiturates along with amphetamines.
What is the Attraction to doing Speedballs?
Research shows that most people who do speedballs are typically heroin users who decide to indulge adding cocaine to drug ritual as a bonus when they had the funds for it and who are looking for a new, more intense high.
People who do speedballs are seeking the flash, or high, from cocaine followed by the mellowing effect of heroin.
Speedballs are Crazy Dangerous
Heroin is a depressant that affects the brain’s pleasure systems and interferes with the brain’s ability to perceive pain. Being a depressant, it slows down Central Nervous System functions like heart rate, pulse and breathing.
On the other hand, you have cocaine, a stimulant. It has the opposite effect on your body. This causes complications in the usually well-oiled machine of a healthy body that works in harmony with all its parts. By introducing both a powerful stimulant and a powerful depressant, the brain can become confused, causing the signals to go haywire.
Another reason that speedballing can end tragically is because the stimulant effects of cocaine wear off far more quickly than the depressant effects of heroin. So because of the countering effect of the cocaine, a fatally high dose of heroin is accidentally administered without immediate incapacitation, thus providing a false sense of tolerance until it is too late. This is known as a delayed opioid overdose and is believed to be the most common way that speedball overdoses and death occur.
Additionally, because the two drugs counter the effects of each other, the user often doesn’t realize that they are doing a fatal dose of either or both the heroin and cocaine. They may have a false sense of increased tolerance to the drugs and therefore use a fatal amount, leading to oversdose.
Notable Deaths from Speedballing
Jean-Michel Basquiat, American graffiti artist
John Belushi, comedian, actor, and musician
Ken Caminiti, third baseman
Chris Farley, comedian and actor
Pete Farndon, English bassist from the band the Pretenders
Mitch Hedberg stand-up comedian
Chris Kelly, from rap duo Kriss Kross
Brent Mydland, keyboardist from the Grateful Dead
River Phoenix, actor
Eric Show, pitcher for the Major Leagues
Hillel Slovak, original guitarist and founding member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers
Layne Staley, lead singer and co-songwriter of the band Alice in Chains
King George V of the United Kingdom, king of England
If your loved one is in need of treatment for heroin or cocaine addiction, please give us a call at 800-951-6135.