Opiate Suboxone


I no longer have that craving! I can now break through the barriers that have held me down for so long.

-ARCA Client

ARCA is licensed by the Arizona Department of Health Services.

The Four Components of Assisted Recovery:

1. Biological- First addressing the biochemistry (the biological component) of opiate dependence, with the anti-craving medication naltrexone, and medication Suboxone®.

2. Psychological- Using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to learn how to be happy once again, without the use of alcohol.

3. Environmental- Addressing family, relationship, employment, and legal issues.

4. Spiritual- At Assisted Recovery we recognize that a spiritual component is helpful for many people seeking recovery. We feel however that this issue is best left to the individual.

Suboxone® Treatment Information

1) Regular medical care

Most patients will be required to see the physician for ongoing Suboxone® treatment every four weeks. If they miss an appointment, they may not be able to refill the medication on time, and may even go into withdrawal, which could be dangerous.

2) Counseling

Individuals who are recovering from dependence need counseling in order to learn how to adjust to life without the opiates. Assisted Recovery has scheduled regular appointments with an individual counselor, or for group therapy. These appointments are key parts of treatment, and work together with the Suboxone® treatment to improve success in treatment for opiate dependence. Sometimes family members may be asked to join in family therapy sessions, which also are geared to improve addiction care.

3) Taking the medication

Suboxone® is unusual because it must be dissolved under the tongue, rather than swallowed. Please be aware that this takes a few minutes. While the medication is dissolving, the patient will not be able to answer the phone, or the doorbell, or speak very easily. This means that the family will get used to the patient being ‘out of commission’ for a few minutes whenever the regular dose is scheduled.

4) Storing the medication

If Suboxone® is lost or misplaced, the individual may skip doses or go into withdrawal, so it is very important to find a good place to keep the medication safely at home – away from children or pets, and always in the same location, so it can be easily found. The doctor may give the patient a few ‘backup’ pills, in a separate bottle, in case an appointment has to be rescheduled, or there is an emergency of some kind. It is best if the location of the Suboxone® is NOT next to the vitamins, or the aspirin, or other over-the-counter medications, to avoid confusion. If a family member or visitor takes Suboxone® by mistake, he or she should be checked by a physician immediately.

What does Suboxone® treatment mean to the family?

It is hard for any family when a member finds out he or she has a disease that is not curable. This is true for dependence as well. When chronic diseases go untreated, they have severe complications that may lead to disability and death. Fortunately, Suboxone® can be a successful treatment, especially when it is integrated with counseling and support for life changes that the individual has to make to remain ‘clean and sober.’

Chronic disease means the disease is there every day, and must be treated every day. This takes time and attention away from other things, and family members may resent the effort and time and money that it takes for Suboxone® treatment and counseling. (It might help to compare dependence to other chronic diseases, like diabetes or high blood pressure. For example, in the case of hypertension, it takes time to make appointments to go to the doctor for blood pressure checks, and it may annoy the family if the food has to be low in cholesterol, or unsalted. But most families can adjust to these changes, when they consider that it may prevent a heart attack or a stroke for their loved one.)

In summary:

Support of family and friends can be very helpful to patients on Suboxone® treatment. It helps if the family members understand how dependence is a chronic disease that requires ongoing care. It also helps if the family gets to know a little about how the medication works, and how it should be stored at home to keep it safe. Family life might have to change to allow time and effort for ‘recovery work’ in addiction treatment. Sometimes family members themselves can benefit from therapy.

An Evidence-Based Treatment that will empower you to quit using opiate drugs and make positive changes in your life.

Suboxone® is the first opioid medication approved for the treatment of opioid dependence in an office-based setting. Suboxone® also can be dispensed for take-home use, just as any other medicine for other medical conditions.

The primary active ingredient in Suboxone is buprenorphine.

Because buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, its opioid effects are limited compared with those produced by full opioid agonists, such as oxycodone or heroin. Subxone also contains naloxone, an opioid antagonist.

The naloxone in Subxone is there to discourage people from dissolving the tablet and injecting it. When Subxone is placed under the tongue, as directed, very little naloxone reaches the bloodstream, so what the patient feels are the effects of the buprenorphine. However, if naloxone is injected, it can cause that person to quickly go into withdrawal.

SUBOXONE at the appropriate dose may be used to:

  • Suppress symptoms of opioid withdrawal
  • Decrease cravings for opioids
  • Reduce illicit opioid use
  • Block the effects of other opioids
  • Help patients stay in treatment

Treatment is provided in an Out Patient professional setting. With Suboxone®, we can safely and effectively detox an individual from opiate dependence comfortably in an Out Patient environment.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is provided and is an integral component of the Assisted Recovery Pennsylvania Model program.

Currently, the most readily available treatment for opiate dependence is Methadone Maintenance. Methadone must be dispensed in highly regulated and for many, difficult to access clinics. In general, an individual must present himself each morning at a clinic for a daily dose of methadone. Methadone will keep the individual emotionally stable and will prevent the intense physical withdrawal that is associated with opiate dependence.

Suboxone® protocols offer opiate dependent individuals with a wide range of options, including abstinence from all forms of opiates.

Treatment is provided in an Out Patient professional setting. With Suboxone®, we can safely and effectively detox an individual from opiate dependence comfortably in an Out Patient environment. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is provided and is an integral component of the Assisted Recovery Pennsylvania Model program. It fully meets the counseling requirement that is mandated by the Food & Drug Administration for individuals taking Suboxone®.

Assisted Recovery Centers of Arizona (ARCA) is proud to offer individuals struggling with opiate dependence, the Pennsylvania Model of Recovery (click here for slide show).

Assisted Recovery became operational in April of 1996 and is licensed by the State of Arizona. Emphasizing a cognitive approach to therapy with the adjutant use of medication, Assisted Recovery has pioneered a new path to recovery. Assisted Recovery has taken ideas that were first used in an academically based research program and established a state of the art recovery program.

The Assisted Recovery Program fully integrates medications with psychosocial support. This type of integrated program is an example of the Pennsylvania Model of Recovery. The model is so named in recognition of the work of the University of Pennsylvania and in particular Dr. Joseph Volpicelli, MD, PhD (author of Recovery Options)

The Pennsylvania Model recognizes that dependence upon alcohol is a biological, psychological and social condition. Further, it recognizes that treatment should address each of these issues in order to enhance a successful outcome. Dr. Volpicelli has compared the three components to a three-legged stool. With all three legs in place, we have a solid and effective treatment program. Take one leg away and the value of the stool as a seat is greatly reduced.

The Pennsylvania Model addresses the biological component with the use of approved anti-craving medications, for example Suboxone® & naltrexone. It must be remembered however, that the medications, while very effective, are not cures in themselves. Rather, they are very effective tools, that greatly assist the recovery process. We understand that many individuals fear the use of medications, especially medications that they are not familiar with. The medications utilized by clients of Assisted Recovery are safe, fully documented and approved by the United States Food & Drug Administration. We are of the view that no one should take unnecessary medication. However, if you have a headache, take an aspirin or similar pain reliever. If you are dependent upon opiates, use the effective medical tools that are available to you.

The Psychological component is addressed primarily with the use of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as developed by Dr. Albert Ellis, PhD of the Albert Ellis Institute of New York City. The reality is that getting an individual to stop taking dugs is the easy part of the recovery process.

The use of anti-craving medications makes it possible for even the most hard-core users to stop in relative comfort.

Indeed, the most difficult part of the process is learning how to be happy once again, without the using drugs.

Learning how to deal with not only bad days, but good days.

The third leg or social component is addressed with professional and empathic counseling that assists an individual to address family, relationship, employment and legal issues. Using opiates can be compared to a sandbox. It gives an individual the ability to stick his or her head in the sand, like an ostrich, and gives the illusion that all is well. Meanwhile, right outside the sandbox is a lion, which roars each time the individual removes his or her head (stops using). More often than not, the individual sticks his or her head right back into the sandbox. The use of counseling or the third leg is a vital component of the process of recovery.

Don’t see a program that looks “exactly right” for you?
We’ll customize an individual Treatment Plan to meet your needs.

Contact Assisted Recovery today at
(602) 264-7897