FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

Family members of patients, as well as new patients, often have questions about using buprenorphine as treatment for their or their loved ones addiction We will answer those questions as best we can through this website. If there are any other questions that you have and do not see on this page, please call 626-577-7788.

What is an opioid?

*Opioids are addictive narcotics in the same family as opium and heroin. This includes many prescription pain medications, such as Codeine, Vicoden, Demerol, Dilaudid, Morphine, Oxycontin, and Percodan. Methadone, LAAM and Buprenorphine are also also opiods, and they are used to treat the addiction of the other narcotics.

 

Why are opiods used to treat addiction?

**Many family members wonder why doctors use buprenorphine to treat opiate addiction, since it is in the same family as heroin. Some of them ask, “Isn’t this substituting one addiction for another?” But the three medications used to treat addiction to heroin - methadone, LAAM and buprenorphine - are not “just substitution.” Many medical studies since 1965 show that maintenance treatment helps keep patients healthier, keeps them from getting into legal troubles, and prevents them from getting AIDS. These medications do not eliminate physical dependence, and if they are stopped suddenly, the patient will experience withdrawal symptoms. But with the ability and guidance of our staff, and the desire of the patient to stop using a drug, buprenorphine can be used to gradually cut down the dosage of the drug and live a completely drug-free life.

What is the right dose of buprenorphine?

**The trained staff at Pasadena Freedom House has much training and experience to know the correct amount of buprenorphine to use to keep a patient comfortable while detoxing from a drug. Family members of patients who have been addicted to drugs have watched the painful withdrawal which occurs when the drug is not available. Sometimes the family has not seen the “normal” person for years. They may have seen the patient misuse doctors’ prescriptions for narcotics to get high. They are rightly concerned. At Pasadena Freedom House, we will strive to bring back the person that the family once knew, in a safe and comfortable setting.

How long will it take to kick my addiction? Are there any dangers in using buprenorphine?

**Some patients find that it takes several days to get used to the transition from the opiate they had been using to buprenorphine. During that time, any use of other opiates may cause an increase in symptoms. After you become stabilized on buprenorphine, it is expected that other opiates will have less effect. Once you are stablilized, the treatment time varies on the individual, and we find that it is the safest and most comfortable method of discontinuing your drug use. We suggest that you stay with us for one month, during which time the depression that accompanies the discontinuation of the use of a drug or alcohol will also be closely monitored. This can be one of the most difficult parts of an addict's recovery. Other medications prescribed by our doctor will be used to help you/them through this phase.

 

What happens if I relapse and combine other drugs with the buprenorphine?

** Combining buprenorphine with alcohol or benzodiapines or other medications without the advice of your M.D. may result in a serious overdose and potentially dangerous outcome. The combination of buprenorphine with high doses of benzodiazepines such as Valium, Librium, Xanax, Ativan or others has been documented to result in accidental deaths.Attempts to override the buprenorphine by taking more opiates could result in an opiate overdose. You should not take any other medication without discussing it with the doctor first.

 

Can I obtain Buprenorphine on the black market?

**Diversion/trafficking of prescribed medications occurs when patients, who may or may not be drug abusers, attempt to obtain a prescription for abusable drugs for illicit distribution or sale. Buprenorphine is a controlled substance which is closely monitored by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency), therefore obtaining buprenorphine on the street is nearly impossible. It must be prescribed by licensed doctors whoare also closely monitored by the DEA. That is why our program is so successful, because buprenorphine is onlyl available by legal means and cannot be abused.

Why is the PASADENA FREEDOM HOUSE different from other facilities?

**PASADENA FREEDOM HOUSE is an indepent living situation, that allows an addict to continue to live his or her life while discontinuing the use of drugs and/or alcohol. They are able to leave to go to work or to a movie set or any other kind of job, but will return to the facility when they are finished with their day.While they are in the facility, they will be closely monitored and tested for drug use to keep them from being tempted to relapse. They will be under a doctors care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and will have support groups as well as case workers helping them through the hardest part of their recovery.

What ammenties does the PASADENA FREEDOM HOUSE offer?

**PASADENA FREEDOM HOUSE offers separate rooms or apartments, depending on the price paid. Full kitchen use is available if sharing a room, and private kitchens are available in private rooms. High Speed DSL capabilities are available, as well as cable TV. You will be responsible for all of your meals. Medical doctors, psychiatrists, and counselors are available to you on a full time basis.