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Suboxone is a medication for the treatment of opiate addiction. It is available by prescription from clinics and doctors who are specially certified to dispense Suboxone. The purpose of Suboxone treatment is to keep opiate addicts from experiencing withdrawal while they receive counseling for the psychological aspects of addiction.

Many people choose to buy street Suboxone rather than get it from a doctor. Unfortunately, though the street medication is the generally the same as what you'd get in a pharmacy, people buying from street sources rarely do as well as those who get involved with a legitimate Suboxone addiction treatment program. Read on to find out why, specifically:

  • How buying street Suboxone keeps you stuck in a cycle of addiction.
  • Reasons often given for buying from street sources (and why these are rarely good reasons.)
  • How getting involved with a treatment program improves your chances.

How Street Suboxone Keeps You Stuck in Addiction

  1. It is Illegal and you stay in contact with drug dealers and drug users.
  2. You buy Suboxone instead of going to a treatment facility.
  3. It’s taken like a drug, not like a medication
  4. You get no counseling for the psychological aspects of addiction.
  5. You make no changes to your lifestyle, attitude, behavior or thought processes.
  6. You often either relapse into drug use or abuse Suboxone.
  7. You continue to be miserable and do not live a productive life.

Street Suboxone Is Illegal – You Stay in Contact with Dealers/Users

Many addicts make the mistake of believing that since Suboxone is prescribed for addiction treatment, they can take it on their own to self-treat their addiction. They buy Suboxone on the street from people who are prescribed more Suboxone than they take. Many treatment facilities routinely prescribe the maximum amount of effective Suboxone - two 8 mg films. However, many addicts are able to take 8 mg or less a day and because their insurance pays for the Suboxone, they pay little or nothing for the medication and sell it for a large profit. Instead of making changes to their lives and supporting themselves through employment, they sell their Suboxone.

Addicts in active addiction get used to breaking the law. They have to break the law on a regular basis to get the drugs they need to avoid withdrawal symptoms. They often don't think it is a big deal to buy or sell Suboxone because they have been engaged in illegal activity for years. But recovery needs to be different from active addiction in order for it to work. Illegal activity just perpetuates the cycle of addiction.

Buying and selling Suboxone keeps you stuck in the same drug lifestyle as addiction. You continue to have friends who buy, sell and use drugs and you may also continue to be involved in other illegal activities, after all, it is a lot easier to commit other crimes when you are already violating one law. Plus, the continued association with drug dealers and users reinforces the idea that it is acceptable to break the law, and this continues the cycle of drug addiction and criminal activity.

The purpose of treatment is to make positive changes. You are supposed to take Suboxone like a medication and lead a productive life. A productive life involves being employed, living within the law, getting psychological treatment and not associating with drug dealers and users.

You Get No Counseling or Treatment

Buying street Suboxone also means you don't get the counseling you need to reinforce and encourage behavioral and lifestyle changes. 

  • People who buy Suboxone are unlikely to seek counseling. They know that a counselor will tell them that they have to get their Suboxone from a doctor or a treatment facility.

When insurance pays for Suboxone treatment they often mandate counseling and many facilities that prescribe Suboxone require counseling as well. Counseling is a necessary part of Suboxone treatment because addiction is not just a physical disorder, addiction affects a person’s mental health too. To treat the addiction, you need to treat the physical and mental aspects of addiction.

You Make No Positive Life-Changes

There is a saying in the recovery community: “nothing changes if nothing changes” and it means precisely what it says - If you want to see your life change for the better, you have to be willing to make changes.

  • Buying Suboxone on the street is addict behavior. It is not the change that you need to make in order to get better.

Buying street Suboxone keeps you stuck in the same cycle of abusing drugs and perpetuates the drug lifestyle. It keeps you from getting the help you need to break the cycle and learn to live differently. I would go so far as to say that buying street Suboxone is no different than abusing other prescription opiates or heroin. Remember:

  1. It is an opioid which fits in the same opiate receptors as opiates like heroin.
  2. When you take it without the supervision of a doctor or without counseling, it isn’t much different than other opiates.

You Take it Like a Drug – Not a Medicine

While Suboxone is less likely to cause intoxication or be abused, addicts are notorious for finding ways to get high.

Suboxone wasn't designed to be injected but addicts have found other ways to abuse it. I won’t go into too many details as I do not want to encourage abuse of the medication, however, many addicts:

  • Combine it with other drugs to get an intoxicating effect.
  • Take inconsistent doses to get around the ceiling effect of the medication. Whenever any person takes the same amount of any opiate or opioid each day, it will not produce intoxication due to tolerance. However, taking consistent lower doses and occasionally raising the dose can result in intoxication.

The point is that while Suboxone is less likely to be abused, abuse is still possible, and without a doctor's supervision and without counseling, these abuses are more likely to occur. With abuse and without positive life-change - relapse is almost a certainty.

Reasons Given for Buying Street Suboxone?

Why do some addicts choose to buy street Suboxone instead of going to a treatment facility?

There are many reasons why addicts choose to buy Suboxone on the street rather than going to a treatment facility, but none of these reasons really justifies the choice to buy Suboxone on the street.

  • The reasons usually just mask the real truth which is that the addict is resistant to making changes and continues to want to get high.

Here are some reasons an addict may give for why they do not get Suboxone from a treatment facility:

  • They cannot afford it.
  • Their insurance does not cover Suboxone.
  • Their family members do not want them on Suboxone.
  • They feel stigmatized by treatment.
  • They are not like those “other addicts.”
  • They are not an addict or are not addicted.
  • They don’t want anyone to know they have a problem.
  •  It would interfere with their job, family life, school, etc.
  • They don't need counseling.
  • They just have to stop withdrawal.

None of these are good reasons to buy Suboxone as opposed to going to a treatment facility or doctor.

Street Suboxone Costs More

Buying Suboxone on the street is much more expensive than from a doctor. Even when insurance does not cover treatment, it costs much more to purchase street drugs than it does to purchase medication and pay for doctor’s appointments.

In addition to the street-medication costs, buying street drugs comes with other 'costs' attached. Addiction to street drugs costs the addict more in terms of health problems, family issues, legal costs and other addiction associated problems.

Informed Family Members Generally Support Treatment

While some family members might dislike the idea of Suboxone, those who learn accurate facts about this form of treatment often change their outlook.

  • Family issues can be resolved by involving them in treatment. If you sign consents, the family can be a part of treatment.

Treatment Is Less Stigmatizing Than Active Addiction

Addiction treatment can be stigmatizing but no more so than being an addict is.

  1. Many addicts try to separate themselves from other addicts, thinking they are different somehow.
  2. They will often believe they are not an addict or are not addicted; this is what we call denial.
  3. But any person who takes illegal Suboxone or other opiates has a problem, especially if it interferes with their ability to lead a normal life.

Many addicts do not want anyone to know about their problem. This is normal and it should not keep you from treatment. Addiction treatment is confidential so no one needs to know that you are in treatment.

Treatment Time Requirements Are Manageable

Addicts may use their job, family life, school or other activities as excuses to not go to treatment. They might say they don’t have time for counseling or going to a Suboxone clinic. However, it takes only an hour a week for individual counseling and they may only have to see a doctor every other week or once a month. This is not much time when you consider the benefits. Addicts spend much more time getting and using drugs.

Addiction Is Psychological - Counseling Helps

They may think they don't need counseling. Some addicts have the mistaken belief that addiction is physical not psychological, and they think that if they can just stop the withdrawal symptoms, they can lead a normal life. But addiction is more complicated than that. Addiction is a physical and psychological disorder. Proof of this is that most addicts really want to quit or cut back at some point but cannot do it no matter how hard they try. They cannot do it because most of addiction happens in the mind not the body.

There really is no legitimate reason to avoid treatment. No matter what excuse you come up with, a reasonable person can refute it. Addiction destroys your life and can lead to early death. Considering that, there clearly is no reason good enough to not go to treatment.

Why People ACTUALLY Buy Street Suboxone

Here are some reasons why addicts really choose to buy street Suboxone:

  • They do not want to be drug tested because they are using other drugs.
  • They are continuing to use opiates and just taking Suboxone occasionally to avoid withdrawal.
  • They do not want to get counseling and examine their behavior and thought processes.
  • They do not want to be monitored for medication compliance.
  • They do not want to make lifestyle, attitude and behavioral changes.
  • They do not want to face psychological issues.

While addicts may give many reasons why they cannot go to a treatment facility for Suboxone, the real reasons are almost always related to their continuing addiction. They are not doing the right thing when they buy Suboxone illegally and chances are there are other things they may be doing that they do not want a treatment facility to discover. A treatment facility is likely to drug test and positive tests results can lead to program termination -This would alert family members to their drug use.

They might be avoiding dealing with making real changes to their lives and they know that any treatment facility will monitor their behavior. A counselor is likely to ask questions about who they associate with, whether they are employed, what they do all day, etc. They may want to avoid dealing with making changes or facing psychological issues. But whatever the issue, it is probably more of a reason to go to treatment than avoid it.

How Addiction Treatment Improves Outcomes

  • Medication monitoring.
  • Behavioral monitoring.
  • Counseling.
  • Addiction education.
  • Attitude, behavioral and lifestyle changes.

When an addicted person gets Suboxone from a treatment facility, the staff will monitor their use of the medication to make sure they are not abusing it or taking other drugs. The staff will also look for signs of continuing addiction or relapse, such as:

  • The person is late for counseling or doctor appointments.
  • The person has an abnormal attitude in how they respond to the staff and take direction.
  • The person displays poor hygiene, an unkempt appearance or dirty or torn clothing.
  • The person displays signs of intoxication such as slurring words, pinned pupils or poor coordination.

The addicted person needs to be observed for someone to notice these signs.

The Benefits of Counseling

At a treatment facility, clients are generally required to get counseling. They will be asked to work on the psychological aspects of addiction and to look at how their behavior influences drug use.

  • A counselor will teach about addiction and the disease concept. When addiction is considered a disease, this means the person is not addicted to just one substance but that any addictive substance or behavior can become a problem.
  • They can learn what triggers drug use and leads to cravings. They can be taught how to manage cravings. They can learn about relapse and what often leads to relapse. They can discover their own relapse patterns and how to avoid them.
  • They can also learn about stressors or psychological disorders that may have contributed to their addiction.

Addiction is a complex disease so there is a lot of information that you can learn which will improve treatment outcomes.

A Note About Subutex

While this article focused on Suboxone, I would like to mention the use of Subutex as opposed to Suboxone. Subutex is similar to Suboxone except it only contains Buprenorphine and not Naloxone. The addition of Naloxone prevents the addicted person from injecting the medication or abusing other opiates. Most facilities only prescribe Subutex to pregnant women or people who cannot take Naloxone due to allergies or other health reasons. However, there are a few facilities who will prescribe Subutex. It is my opinion that an addicted person who is trying to make better choices should take Suboxone and not Subutex. It is much easier for the addicted person to abuse Subutex and get intoxicated on it. For this reason, I believe Suboxone is a better choice whenever possible.

Take-Home

  • Addiction is a complicated disease and treatment needs to involve counseling and a staff trained in handling the disorder. Buying Suboxone on the street does not help an addicted person recover from the disease of addiction. It does not help an addicted person make the changes they need to make in order to recover.
About the author Anna Deeds:
I am a recovering addict and a Licensed Professional Counselor. I have over 8 years clean from all substances and more than 10 years from illicit drugs. I work as an addiction counselor and have more than 5 years experience counseling addicts.
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Page last updated Nov 20, 2015

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