son decided to detox himself


Active Member
from pain killers and suboxone. Was in terrible pain and literally trying to bite himself to transfer the pain from his legs to his hand. Wanted to go to the hospital for help. His doctor's phone message says to call 911 in case of an emergency when office is closed. So we called an ambulance to take him to the ER. Well, they wouldn't do anything for him because it was a detox issue. They wouldn't give him anything like a tranquilizer or antidepressant to try to help calm him down. They just gave him a list of resources and sent him home after 4 hours of him go through mood swings and pain. His mood swings had him calling the nurse a B*tch and pulling off his monitor leads etc. Why can't ERs be equipped to help those with dual diagnosis and those who did the stupid thing and tried to detox on their own! Thanks for "listening" to me vent.


Well-Known Member
Flower Garden, I believe that will gradually change with the focus being put on addiction treatment in the U.S. Not to get political but listen to some of the candidates, they get it. Local officials in many communities get it also, the country needs to catch up. We need treatment, not jail sentences.


Well-Known Member
I think it is terrible that the ER did not figure out a way to get him into some kind of medical detox!!

And I think the heroin crisis is starting to make this a campaign issue which is a good thing. I recently went to a thing put on by a group working on drug addiction issues... And several of the candidates spoke. Some of them (not ones I particularly like on other issues) have real life experience with family members with addiction and they get it..... So hopefully some of the attitudes towards addiction and treatment will change.

New Leaf

Well-Known Member
Politicians have to get it, they are counting on votes from New Hampshire, a beautiful part of our country, plagued with heroin use by high schoolers. It is no longer an inner city problem, epidemic in the suburbs, hitting all groups in society. The Country better wake up to this, and wake up fast. People do not think it will happen to their children,but it is becoming more and more prevalent.....
Why can't ERs be equipped to help those with dual diagnosis and those who did the stupid thing and tried to detox on their own! Thanks for "listening" to me vent.
I am sorry for this FG, it is heart wrenching.


Crazy Cat Lady
Well, I do know that the proper way to detox from suboxone is to do a SLOW taper and then stop when on a very minimal dosage. Withdrawal is still rough, but not as bad as quitting cold turkey when on a higher dose.

Was your son using suboxone as maintenance, or just to avoid withdrawals when he couldn't get his drug of choice?

If he is getting his suboxone from a clinic or doctor, he needs to ask his medical team to set up a withdrawal schedule to help him get off the medication as comfortably as possible.

If he's getting it on the street, there is a LOT of information available on the internet both on how to use suboxone to get off of opiates, and on how to taper of of suboxone.

Now that he is in full withdrawal, he can go to a methadone or suboxone clinic/doctor and get started on maintenance therapy. I'd suggest suboxone therapy as it has less side effects and is easier to get off of than methadone is.

The other way to go is to go to a private physician legally authorized to prescribe suboxone (few and far between) as a private physician can prescribe "comfort medications", which clinics do not. Watch him as it is not uncommon for opiate addicts (suboxone is an opiate) to come out of withdrawal hooked on benzos (valium, klonopin, xanax, etc) or alcohol.

My suspicion is that he used suboxone before he was in full withdrawal from other opiates and threw himself into precipitated withdrawal, which is much more severe than regular withdrawal. Suboxone blocks the "high" from opiates.

ERs aren't likely to be very sympathetic to "junkies" in a lot of places, though some will give a shot of morphine. If he can get through a week or two, the worst of it is over. How long has he been in WD?


Active Member
He was using pain killers and had suboxone from his psychiatrist. He just stopped everything all at once. His psychiatrist will not return phone calls from him for help since he went to the ER. The pain has lessened and he can handle it better. Trying to get a new psychiatrist and counselor for him. Insurance hasn't been of any help. Gave him names of doctors not even on our insurance! Just wish there was a better system in place for those wanting help.


Crazy Cat Lady
Well, if he was using suboxone regularly, and opiates, he was taking huge amounts of opiates to get past the blockading effect of the suboxone.

Something is fishy about the doctor, though. I can't understand why they would refuse to help him because he went to the ER, unless they saw that as "drug seeking" behavior.

Your son has a rough road ahead of hi, any way you look at it. The fact that the pain is easing up is a sign that the worst of the WDs are passing. If he is able to eat now, he should start trying to eat a healthy, clean diet, take vitamins (Bs especially), and start drinking lots of fluids. Avoid alcohol and any other drugs at this point beyond ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain. Take those in normal doses. He can take loperamide (Immodium) for the diarrhea if that's an issue as it often is in opioid WD.

Hot baths/showers will help with the pain and restless legs as well.

My heart goes out to you watching him go through this, and he has my best wishes that he make it through WD and be able to stay clean afterwards. He will need ongoing support after WD in order to stay clean.

The time after WD is especially dangerous in terms of ODing upon relapse as he will have lost tolerance and the dose that would've been a safe high before could kill him now.


Roll With It
I am truly shocked at the treatment your son has gotten. No psychiatrist should rx suboxone unless he is a certified pain mgmt or addiction specialist. It is WAY too powerful for a regular psychiatrist to rx responsibly.

One reason for this is that during detox, esp cold turkey detox, heart rate can do some seriously dangerous things and medications to manage this are very important. My pain mgmt doctor prefers the catapres patch because you don't throw it up. To manage nausea/vomiting, they should be giving phenergan (promethazine) or another similar medication. Often a rub on version or a sublingual version is given because of the nausea and diarrhea. Now some docs don''t want to rx phenergan because people are mixing it with other medications to get high. You can use benadryl for this as it is incredibly close to phenergan (both are antihistamines and are chemically very similar).

The psychiatrist not seeing him because he went to the ER is bogus. This doctor is WAY fishy and I hope your son can find better treatment.


Crazy Cat Lady
Susie, MDs have to be "licensed" to prescribe suboxone. The process is apparently pretty exhaustive and expensive, and is closely monitored by the Fed.

This is why there are so few "suboxone doctors", especially in more rural areas.

Suboxone is buprenorphine plus naltrexone (opioid antagonist). Buprenorphine is an extremely potent narcotic.

In fact, I have a little bottle of chicken flavored liquid buprenorphine elixir. Thomas the cat takes .1mg of it when his arthritis is paining him.

It knocks him for a loop, but "bupe" is one of the very few painkillers that is safe in cats.