Another morning of Google Alerts about buprenorphine, and another list of new posts at and about Suboxone.  The posts usually have one thing in common– the writers of the posts are seeking the easy way out from opiate dependence.  They were in a huge mess from their addiction to opiates, they started on Suboxone, life got better… and now they are complaining that they are ‘stuck on Suboxone’, resenting the medication that saved them.  A post today suggests that Suboxone docs have a secret agenda, to keep them addicted to Suboxone– I’m no sure how one draws that conclusion at the same time there are waiting lists for the limited number of docs who are willing to treat opiate addicts, with or without Suboxone!
I have taken on the addicts’ arguments many times over the past year;  it is frustrating arguing with opiate addicts, not because the arguments are intellectually tough, but rather because the arguments are always the same, and it gets tiring writing the same thing over and over again.  And as a recovering opiate addict, I have been in the shoes of the person on the other side of the argument– back when I was using and miserable.  Like all opiate addicts in recovery, I still have that ‘addict inside’ who tosses out the same old lines every now and then– except after being at this for years and years, I have come to identify most of them fairly quickly.  That is the job of the recovering addict, by the way– to learn to identify one’s own BS– one’s own ‘addictive thinking’– and to call one’s self on it as soon as possible, before it leads the addict back to a life of misery.
Add to this that all addicts seek the easy way out of most situations… and that a hallmark of opiate addiction is feeling ‘unique’ from others, so that each addict considers himself or herself to be a ‘special case’–  the result is that instead of taking the time to go to the ‘search’ function of the blog or site and reading the collective wisdom, the addict puts up his/her own post and grabs the advice of the people who are first to respond, assuming that those ‘first responders’ must care the most.
The trite arguments on those sites are mostly ignored by treating professionals and the professional societies;  the general assumption is that people who rely on those forums cannot be helped until they realize that the forums contain mostly nonsense, and move beyond them to get help from genuine treatment professionals.  But opiate dependence is a fatal illness, and it bothers me that those sites– sites like ‘’ and ‘’– provide such a distraction from the truth of addiction treatment.  They create an environment where every person is an expert– I imagine there are areas where that is a valid format, but when working with fatal illnesses that have denial as a hallmark of their presentation, such sites are surely responsible for the misery and death of many, many people.
I responded to an addict the other day who posted something typical to those sites– the ‘drug replacing a drug’ thing, I think it was…  which I usually answer by describing how addiction is not the ‘drug’, but the relationship with the drug, and how buprenorphine is a partial agonist, and how it suppresses cravings to induce ‘remission’ of addiction, and finally how addiction, like other remembered things, cannot be erased or cured– so an addict can’t just stop Suboxone and expect to remain clean without replacing Suboxone treatment with a 12-step program.  Blah blah blah…  I have written it over and over that I am starting to bore MYSELF, and so I must certainly be boring the other people who read my blog.  Sorry about that, by the way.
When I write my answer I will be one answer in a list of answers from people like ‘druglover’ or ‘soberjim’ or ‘petuniagirl’ or ‘suboxonehater’…. and I have no interest in jockeying for position with people who may or may not have any experience or knowledge about addiction.  So I used to put the name of my blog– but sites like and are dependent on ad revenue, and they would prefer that the other blogs out there would just go away– so they erase comments if you mention your own blog.  There have been times, though, when I have really felt bad for this person out there who sees ‘soberrecovery’ and thinks (incorrectly) that the people making the site ‘care’– and so I would post a reply with my REAL name– Jeffrey T Junig MD PhD– and with my REAL e-mail address (I’m expecting to be attacked for this post, so I won’t make that one quite as easy– to flame me you will have to click once or twice to get my e-mail address!).  Today I get this message from
Giving medical advice on the public forums is not allowed.Neither is posting your email address.
Posts containing such will be removed.

I replied, basically, that it is pretty irresponsible for a site to entertain medical question after medical question, and allow posts from every medical non-expert with medical ‘guesses’, and then block any response from a person who happens to have the training, education, and/or experience to answer the question with some degree of accuracy.  I don’t claim to be an expert on everything– but I write about addiction, especially opiate addiction, because over the course of my life that is where my attention has been (for good and for bad), and if I am an ‘expert’ on anything, it is addiction to opiates.
I must get to the office (where I treat addiction, by the way!).  So I’ll just close with the suggestion to seek out information only from places where the people can list a resume.  You don’t have an electrician fix your plumbing.  You wouldn’t go to the real estate forum to learn how to train your dog.  Ironically, most sites that deal with non-life-threatening issues encourage the posters to list their experience– how messed up that sites like and block them!  So instead, go to Health Mavens at, some other site where you know AT LEAST the e-mail address of the person who is counselling you.
Later I will post a summary for many of the questions about Suboxone that come up at the BS sites like and (yes, I am posting their names a lot, because I want Google searches to provide links like ‘BS sites like’).  I also encourage those of you who want to save a life to spread the e-word about the BS at those sites. Yes, I am a bit bitter… but that doesn’t take away the fact that those sites are killing people.
Jeffrey T Junig MD PhD


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