Take Your Medicine

Have you ever taken Suboxone before? Those slick new strips they’ve put out, to curb abuse and misuse and whatnot? For something that eases the misery, both physically and mentally, it’s not a lot of fun. Fun, perhaps, in the same sense that cutting yourself or beating the shit out of a dog is fun. That is: not fun for most people… the artificial orange “flavor”, the SHEER AMOUNT OF MINUTES IT TAKES TO INGEST…

Woah. Sorry. That was the desperation and hate causing me to get ahead of myself. Well, for those who haven’t sampled the life of a terminal junky, I’ll explain how this works. At your worst, your sickest, your lowest, when if given the chance you’d undoubtedly rob your mother and, well, your entire family tree for a shot of god’s finest, instead, driven by utter desperation, you take this foul smelling, foul tasting strip of medicine and place it carefully on one of the two veins beneath your tongue (i.e. sublingually) and wait twenty minutes for it to dissolve. Not so bad, eh? Only this is probably not your first rodeo, so you associate Suboxone with the pure nausea and sickness that accompanies opiate withdrawal, thus exacerbating said nausea and sickness, then you slide a shit flavored Listerine strip that takes 20 feverish minutes to dissolve into your sick junky mouth.

And then you wait. Wait? Yep. Instantaneous, intravenous relief, no longer. This is a hard sharp reintroduction to sober life. There will no longer be instantaneous gratification unless you count ice cream treats, cigarettes, others misery, or you are so lucky as to find someone nice, pitying, or stupid enough to have sex with your, chances are, wrecked-ass body and face. After overcoming all odds and somehow touching another persons genitals with your own, if you are a guy you will probably cum before your penis is fully engorged.

Ugh. God damn it. I seem to have lost the point. The point. The point is: you’ll wait another agonizing twenty minutes, scared (so scared…) that it is not working, before you no longer feel like a hunted animal, your stomach quits punching itself, your eyes quit gushing rivers of shame, you stop sneezing in spasms, your body finally decides that it is EITHER fucking hot or it is cold, and your bone marrow stops making itself known. Now that you’ve got the sick off of you, you’ll probably feel good enough to go steal that scrap or turn that receipt hustle and score the smack that you wanted all along. But, nope, this is a modern miracle of a drug. Not only does Suboxone contain buprenorphine to ease the withdrawals, but also nalaxone an opiate blocker. Bummer, eh? Well, depending on how low you’ve gotten, you may or may not know that there IS still a possibility of getting high.

The naloxone is a barrier to only so much dope, so if you can get your dirty, shamed hands on 3-4 times your usual dosage, well, then you are in business. But now this is inching dangerously close to overdose territory which is no real problem if you’ve got a nice closet or bathroom with a reinforced steel door to nod out in, but if you have company, company will most likely equal the arrival of an ambulance and subsequent medical attention and seeing your track marks, rolled back eyes, shallow breathing, blue lips, or the needle hanging out of your arm/leg/neck, they WILL administer a full dose of Narcan whose active ingredient my friends is, cruel cruel irony, naloxone. You will live. They will have SAVED you. That naloxone, though, was of a much stronger dose (no longer an opiate blocker but an opiate antagonist) and you will be SICK. You will find yourself in a real predicament. And unless you talk slick when you’re sick or can outrun healthy, in-shape real people while vomiting, well then you’re not going anywhere for the time being. You do not want this to be. So, just take your medicine and quit being such a goddamn junky.


(Drugs and Culture)

(Editor’s note: this “essay” was written by the author, when he was still struggling with a habit, as a sort of pep talk to remind himself to do the right thing. He claims to have written it with a Suboxone strip under his tongue. I decided to publish it “as is” for “artistic” and entertainment reasons. He is uneasy about advertising Suboxone as a miracle drug. He now recognizes it as a pharmaceutical with high potential for abuse except when used as a taper during the first week or so of withdrawal. In regard to long-term use he believes it should only be prescribed [as the lesser of two evils] to junkies who have shown a complete inability to function without opiates, thereby providing a chance to live a life free of the constant disruption of relapse and subsequent physical addiction and inevitable decline into criminality. That being said, he claims there are better herbal alternatives if one is so inclined. He knows. I believe him. Also, the author wishes it to be known that long-term use of Suboxone WILL lead to its own physical addiction and that its extremely long half-life can lead to a withdrawal that can last much longer than detoxing from heroin. Remember: no action is without consequence and pharmaceutical companies often lie.  -Gordon Miller [Editor in Chief])


3 responses to “Take Your Medicine

  • mariajay76

    Tip for the “author” and anyone else who has a hard time waiting for Suboxone to dissolve. . I had the worst time with this as well cuz my other med gives me dry mouth. My method now is to place the strip under my tongue then immediately put a sour candy (I like gummi grapefruit or sour worms) on top of my tongue and just suck on it till the strip dissolves. I get an immediate burst of saliva and the flavors blend. Works everyday.


    • Gordon (RoughTradeEditor)

      AM: Hmmm…never thought of that. Probably a good idea, but I could never think about anything but easing the pain the handful of times I tried it as a substitute for heroin. I know for a lot of people (myself included) the wretched taste is a big turnoff. But nothing for free or easy, right? If you’re ever looking to cut Suboxone out of your life, I recommend Kratom as a temporary replacement and taper or as a daily “supplement.” You can google it if you’re interested, but the best way to describe it is through simile: someone who is addicted to the speedier side of things (i.e. Adderall, cocaine {rock or soft}, methamphetamine’s, et-cetera) might find solace in coffee as the person addicted to opiates will find solace in Kratom. Which is a pretty spot on comparison as Kratom is in the same family of species as the coffee plant. Also, you don’t really get “high” from it and even if you try, there is a ceiling effect whereas the pleasant feelings will not increase, but the shitty side effects, such as nausea, will. As for physical tolerance and addiction, if you do build a physical habit to it, through prolonged and increased dosages, the worst you will feel is a withdrawal similar to caffeine withdrawal: headaches, sluggishness, slight anxiety, and diarrhea. With my experience with heavy opiates, I hesitate to even compare it to methadone, Suboxone, or heroin withdrawal at all. More to the point: it can be a life saver. It’s the first “psychoactive” I have ever taken that has made me more productive. I think it’s greatest effect is energy. You’re not gonna feel any special euphoria of “highness” from it, but it can make the difference between getting on with your life and constant relapse. Ummm, yes, I recommend it.


      • mariajay76

        I can relate to being in the horrors of withdrawal and waiting for something (not as good) to work. And I never had to deal with withdrawals from anything as powerful as heroin. It was all prescription. That doesn’t make me any less of an addict, as I would abuse whatever combo of pain meds they gave me, always after resolving not to. I finally had to own up to the fact that while my pain issues were very real, I was also dealing with addiction issues that were very real as well. When I finally detoxed, I was on Fentanyl (chewing the patches) and Vicodin. For me, when I started on the Suboxone, I had already detoxed inpatient with Methadone, then clawed and scratched
        for 90 days in outpatient treatment with clean, random urine screens and required attendance at AA and NA. So as hard as it was, I was not in acute withdrawals with overwhelming cravings when I started on Suboxone, so as hard as it was for me, I can’t really compare to the difficulty of your situation. I was just passing on what worked for me as far as speeding up the absorption of the med. And thank you for the recommendation of Kratom.. It’s not a viable option for me though. The reason why I went through all the hoops that I dd to get into the Suboxone program that I am is because insurance will pay for this. It works and insurance pays. That’s pretty much the only scenario that I can do because I am on disability and that makes $$ super tight. Every other option ,is just way too pricey. Thanks for your reply and your suggestion. All the best to you. Keep writing!


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