Is Taking Suboxone Considered Clean?

A doctor shares his opinion regarding Suboxone treating addiction vs. insulin treating diabetes

If there’s one question we hear constantly at the clinic, it’s this one:

Is Taking Suboxone Considered Clean?

The answer is unequivocally, YES.

When I first started taking Suboxone I was wondering the same thing. I was going to group recovery meetings, I got a sponsor, I was doing the twelve steps, etc. It was then I started to wonder if I was actually “clean” or not. I wound up saying “yes” to the question, but not easily. My gut reaction was that I had traded one pill for another. But, after talking with a couple physicians about it (one being a board-certified addiction doctor) I came to the conclusion that people are clean when taking Suboxone.

That said, there are circumstances when someone may not be considered clean on Suboxone:

  • Taking other opioid-based medications or heroin (this defeats the whole purpose, but I’ve seen people do it)
  • Taking mood-altering substances not prescribed by a doctor

What do Doctors Think? Is Suboxone Considered Clean?

I spoke with a board-certified addiction doctor who works full-time in addiction treatment. Here’s his opinion:

“Addiction is a disease. Suboxone is the medication that treats this disease, at least for now anyway. It’s no different than a diabetic who takes insulin. Diabetes is a disease, and insulin is the medicinal remedy. You either believe addiction is a disease or you don’t.

I do however understand that diabetics don’t cause the problems addicts do while in active addiction. But, if you take away a diabetic’s medicine they too will get sick and there will be similar (not identical) consequences. I get it – It’s hard to compare diseases and people’s reactions to them when they’re not being medically treated. But in the end, they are both diseases and both have a medicine available to treat them.

On a side note, the lifestyle benefits of taking Suboxone vs. opioids are substantial. For example:

  • People stop wasting money
  • They rejoin their families
  • They go back to their jobs
  • They often become accountable

Why? Because they’re no longer suffering from the side-effects from the drugs they were taking, as well suffering from not taking them, like withdrawal.

Add to it, Suboxone is misunderstood. Actually, addiction as a whole is misunderstood. It’s a problematic disease that ruins families when not in check.

In just a few more years Suboxone will become mainstream enough that the general public will understand its many benefits. Especially those who have witnessed someone with untreated addiction. Most people know someone who’s addicted and have seen the wake of destruction they can leave behind.

While Suboxone may not be perfect, it certainly has improved the quality of life for many an addict. Not to mention, improved the quality of life of those who live with a near an addict. Often, the family suffers worse than anyone.

What I witness regularly is hundreds of people who now have a life that for all intents and purposes looks “normal”. If Suboxone can make a family better, then I’d say it’s doing a great job of treating a disease that has lacked a remedy for a long, long time was simply impossible to deal with.

What do you think? Do you believe taking Suboxone is considered clean? If not, why? Please share your comments below.

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