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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

R U Clean on Methadone or Suboxone or Vivitrol


A few thoughts.

Are you as an addict, clean if you are on methadone (MMT) or suboxone, or Vivitrol?

They do keep (allegedly) you from using opiate of choice, so in that respect, you aren't out shooting up or snorting, so you are clean right?

It certainly IS better than using. No doubt about it. But, does it mean you are clean?

Let's compare it to a number of other addictions and treatments then.

I smoke.  They have four primary means of quitting nicotine

1. Cold Turkey - you stop smoking. You no longer smoke. You don't start smoking again. Clean

2. Chantix- You take pills, continue to smoke. Not clean
    a. Chantix. You take pills, set a quit date and keep it. Continue taking Chantix for a year to keep you from starting up again. Not a non smoker yet.
    b. Chantix. You take pills, set a quit date, keep it, continue Chantix for a year to keep you from going back, and then quit Chantix and do not start to smoke again.  Clean. Non Smoker.

3. Wellbutrin - They put you on Wellbutrin. You slowly stop smoking. You continue to take Wellbutrin, but you do not smoke. Still a smoker.......not clean, just not smoking. Better than smoking, but not a non smoker yet.
       a. Wellbutrin. You take it, quit smoking, quit the Wellbutrin, do not start up smoking again. Clean, non smoker.

4. Nicotine replacment therapy. Either patch, gum or whatever. To ease the cravings from nicotine, you use a patch, or chew gum. You do not smoke, but you continue to use the patch while stepping down, and after the patch, you chew the gum.  Not clean. Traded one addiction (the actual smoking process) for another addiction, nicotine in chemical form.

     a. You use the step down patches to quit, do quit, chew the gum for three or four months, quit the gum. No more  nicotine going into your body or brain. Clean. Non smoker.


You quit cold turkey, go through excrutiating withdrawals, don't drink anymore. Clean

You use naltrexone to stop you from drinking, it makes you wicked sick if you drink, or makes the drinks taste bad or whatever it does. Still an alcoholic.

You use naltrexone to stop drinking, use it for a year to make sure, then no longer use Naltrexone. CLEAN. Still an alcoholic, but a NON DRINKING alcoholic.


Cold turkey. You stop, one year later you are still not using. Clean, still addicted, will be for life, but CLEAN.

you use methadone, do not shoot up, pass all your tests. Not clean.

methadone to quit, stay on it for one year, stepping down, weaning off. One year later, no methadone for a year, no relapses, CLEAN, still addicted but non using.

Suboxone.  Same as methadone.

Vivitrol. easier, one injection a month. still the same as the other two.

As long as you are using SOMETHING to keep you from using SOMETHING else, you are not considered to be CLEAN.

Any of the above, and you still smoke weed. NOT CLEAN.

Sober is sober.

Just a note so that anyone posting on MY blog who says they are an MMT or suboxone patient and are CLEAN, you are not. you are on medication that keeps you from using.

Splitting hairs? Maybe. But, this is MY blog, so it's MY opinion that counts ;)

I am not against MMT, Suboxone, Vivitrol or anything that keeps you from shooting or snorting. I just want other parents to realize, it is not clean. The opiate receptors in your brain are still being tickled, they just are being tickled by something legal and that doesn't (allegedly) make you high.


  1. Dawn,

    I agree with your opinions. Replacing one addiction or one chemical with another chemical is not the ultimate goal or the answer. Alcoholic, addict or smoker, clean is clean not just adopting another habit.

    However, I do accept some need "something" to get to a place in which they would rather be. I used to fault that logic but I am more accepting now. But, I feel like you. Do what you say you are going to do, be what you say you are.

    This is getting wierd, don't know what is worse, me agreeing with you or you agreeing with me? LOL

  2. I posted something not too long ago along the same lines....about what clean really means. To me it means you are using nothing. I have friends who drink socially and have a glass or two of wine every night....they are not clean. They also are not alcoholics. I guess it boils down to each person's individual opinion of what clean is and how clean they want to be. lol The various therapies you are speaking of are tools imo to lead a manageable life, to get your fingers gripped onto a ledge so you can get your footing so you can figure out what kind of life you want to live. And thats ok....I know if my daughter chose that route to sobriety, I would be ok with it at this point.

  3. I smoke. I have tried to quit many times and never last too long. I NEED to quit for my healt I know it. I just got a prescription for Chantix. I tried it once before but I didn't keep it up and went back to smoking. My friend DID keep it up and has been smoke free for 3 years now and lost 55 pounds. At 45 she has never looked better and I have known her since we were 9. For me, I figure that Chantix is a crutch that I can't use forever but if it helps me to quit smoking it will be worth it. I go back and forth on the Vivitrol (?) because I would rather my son take that the Heroin. Hoping of course that he can eventually wean himself off of that. I get it, he won't be clean except in his mind. He has told me he doesn't think he will ever stop smoking weed. I just ignore it, not my place. I can't quit smoking cold turkey it certainly has worked for a few of my friends, but not me. Just sucks doesn't it? I love your insight though. It always makes me think. ALthough that may not always be a good thing! lol

  4. @ Ron. Must be a full moon?

    @ Annette. I am not damning those tools. Just to me, if you end up staying on MMT for 30 years to not use, good, but don't call yourself clean LOL

    @ Tori. I haven't quit either. :( and I tried Chantix too. didn't quit, am not clean ;) As I said to Annette, I am not against MMT or suboxone or vivitrol, whatever it takes to keep you from shooting heroin. It still isn't clean, but if it keeps you from shooting heroin and makes you productive, whatever. I still smoke, so I really can't say anything more than that, except my addiction is legal.

    That being said, I still HATE HEROIN.

  5. I would say that the people on mmt therapy who are not using thier drugs of choice are clean enough. Clean enough not to get aids or hepc. Clean enough to act like decent human beings. It they want to call it clean and that helps them stay clean enough then it is fine with me!

  6. People nowadays have drug addictions but they don’t know how to get over this addiction so they need right treatment. In my case I had tried DIY treatment which didn’t help me so at last I decided to join suboxone treatment virginia clinic. It truly helped me thoroughly.