Citation: xdefeatsy. "Is This Really Treatment: An Experience with Buprenorphine/Naloxone (Subutex) & Clonazepam (exp100644)". Erowid.org. Apr 18, 2016. erowid.org/exp/100644
I have been using and abusing drugs since age 15. I have always been an anxious person and soon found that drugs were a great way to cope with my anxiety and the depression that resulted from it. I started off with marijuana and eventually worked my way up to shooting heroin by age 18.
I first experienced Suboxone (Buprenorphine/Naloxone) when I entered rehab for the first time at 19 for addiction to multiple drugs (mainly Opiates). I stayed clean for about 14 months and then relapsed for about 2 years. I had previous experience messing around with Benzodiazepines but they were always used as more of a potentiator for Opiates or a trip-ender for Psychedelics.
In the winter of 2010 I was 2 quarters away from graduating college and my usually stellar grades had dropped to C's or worse -- which for me was a wake-up call. For the past 6 months I had been seeing a new psychiatrist that diagnosed me with Social Anxiety Disorder & Panic Disorder and was being prescribed Clonazepam as treatment. I had $18 and 6mg of Suboxone to my name and I couldn't work my usual dope hustles or fence my Clonazepam; I had hit my bottom. I finally came clean to my parents, who were understandably pissed, and pleaded for help getting back into a Suboxone outpatient program which they eventually agreed to.
I got in 2 days later and with some tricky explanation about why I need my 3mg of Clonazepam everyday, the doctor dosed me at 12mg/day of Suboxone. I took my sobriety seriously for the first month. I did drop my dose from 12mg/day to 4mg/day within the first month because I had been through this before and knew that I needed to get off as comfortably/quickly as possible. For the next 4 months I worked my way down to 2mg/day but was also chipping on heroin. It got real when my parents actually found evidence of my drug use in my room and threatened to kick me out on the street if I didn't immediately stop -- so I stopped. I never told either doctor about any of this and avoided detection very carefully because I feared physical withdrawals from these medications. I graduated in the Summer of 2010, clean.
I stayed on my regimen of 2mg/day of Suboxone and 3mg/day of Clonazepam until January of 2012 when my dad lost his job. I lost my health insurance which made affording Suboxone very difficult. I relapsed briefly when this happened with some Oxycodone and Oxymorphone but got it together after about 6 weeks. Seeing that the economic situation of my family just took a MAJOR hit, I started to slowly dip below 2mg/day of Suboxone. By April of 2012 I had worked my way down to 1mg/day of Suboxone. Then in late April I hooked up with an old friend who was doing dope again, so naturally, I decided to start up again. It started with just doing a few bags on weekends when I didn't work but by August, I was back to shooting 2g/day. The connection got cut off in September and I was forced to go back to Suboxone. I was able to get myself back down to 2mg/day by Thanksgiving in November. I then started weening down again and reached 0.125mg/day by June of 2013. I halved my dose about every 4-6 weeks (e.g. 2mg>1mg, 1mg>0.5mg, 0.5mg>0.25mg, 0.25mg>0.125mg) and there was little to no physical withdrawal. It was mostly just some occasional insomnia, increased depression, and increased anxiety.
I maintained my Clonazepam dose of 3mg/day for almost this entire period. For the first year, it was a godsend for my anxiety. I was social and had a positive outlook on life; I never felt stuck. These past 2.5 years it seems to weaken with every passing day as my tolerance builds. I find myself needing to drink some hard alcohol on occasion to help boost its effects. I have discussed the tolerance issue with my psychiatrist but he doesn't feel comfortable prescribing my any more than 3mg/day for fear of 'dependence'. I didn't push it any further because I'm already dependent and don't want to be kicked off.
It feels like I am right back to square one with my depression and anxiety. I feel stuck nearly everyday. My anxiety is as bad if not worse than what it was before I started down this slippery slope. I can really only leave my house to go to the doctor, go to work, and go to the liquor store; anything more than that is terrifying. I am trying to get off Suboxone completely and have started to take 0.125mg every other day or so until I can get along without it. I have until November to get off of it because I will be without insurance again when I turn 26 and I absolutely will not be able to afford it without insurance with what little I make. I am hoping that once I finish my Suboxone taper, I can maybe start tapering down on the Clonazepam to the point where I am not dependent on it every single day.
The moral of the story: Suboxone is of great help when you need to detox off of opiates in a discrete manner. Get off of it as soon as possible but make sure you don't sacrifice your comfort or you will be more susceptible to a relapse.
It doesn't get me high and its only use is to keep me from feeling withdrawal from opiates. It doesn't help with anything else for me or just about anyone I've ever met who has used it. When it comes to Clonazepam, it is a miracle drug for people like me who have Anxiety disorders -- but only for short-term/occasional use. I could socialize, go anywhere I wanted to go, it didn't dumb me down or make me too tired. It just made me feel 'right'. I made a HUGE mistake by taking 3mg every day as directed. After the first 9-12 months, the tolerance really builds up and it's all downhill from there. I've been on the Clonazepam for nearly 4 years now and while I still fare better with it than without it, I constantly feel stuck. I have a total lack of motivation to do much of anything anymore unless it is of psychological/physical/financial benefit to me. I still sleep a decent 8 hours or so on most nights but during the day when I am interacting with the outside world is much more difficult than it was when I first got on it.
I hope this helps someone out there make better decisions about how to go about their treatment options.
**NOTE: Tobacco was used throughout this entire time in the form of cigarettes. On average about a pack a day -- although that urge has decreased as I have cut back on my Suboxone to the point of only wanting to smoke about 3-4 cigarettes a day.**
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