Recently, The Huffington Post published a lengthy article by Jason Cherkis on the various methods to treat patients with opiate dependence. It was an excellent article that featured a number of personal cases from families who had lost loved ones to an opiate overdose. In almost all of the cases, the overdose had occurred shortly after the patient had tried to get clean and sober.

The main message of the article seemed to be that traditional treatment programs don’t work well for opiate addiction and the only effective way to treat people who have this problem is to put them on agonist therapy, such as Suboxone®.

(An agonist is a chemical that binds to a receptor and activates the receptor to produce a biological response. Whereas an agonist causes an action, an antagonist blocks the action of the agonist and an inverse agonist causes an action opposite to that of the agonist.) 

The article indicated that Methadone, an agonist, could be a good treatment for opiate addiction, but Suboxone® seems to be better. Cherkis interviewed the Medical Director of the Hazelden Treatment Program – a traditionally abstinence-based treatment program – who implied that Hazelden had recently started putting all of their patients with opiate dependence onto Suboxone® and was recommending that patients stay on this medicine after discharge.

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