Local man uses Suboxone to help him kick addiction habit

BRISTOL — Ethan was involved in an accident three years ago that continues to threaten his health, even though his physical wounds healed a long time ago.
Part of the “cure” at the time — some heavy-duty narcotic painkillers — has become the illness: An addiction that led to overdoses that almost took the young man’s life.
“When you first wake up in the morning, you’re thinking: ‘How can I get my fix so I can function?” Ethan told the Addison Independent of his darkest hours.
“I think back to the things I used to do, and I’m amazed that I’m still alive.”
Ethan (not his real name) is not only alive, he’s starting to thrive, thanks to the help he’s receiving through a Medication Assisted Treatment program (MAT) offered by University of Vermont Health Network/Porter Primary Care Bristol, formerly known as Bristol Internal Medicine. His treatment includes prescribed suboxone, a drug that helps patients wean themselves off of opioids.
“It’s gotten me back to where I can work,” Ethan said. “I’ve gotten some of my old friends back from before I used. I’ve gotten my family back. I feel like a good person and I try to do good things now.”
It’s been no easy task.
Ethan’s addiction became all consuming.
“It got to a point where my whole life was revolving around drugs,” he recalled.
But Ethan got to a point around three years ago where he wanted help. He enrolled in a 90-day suboxone trial study through the University of Vermont. It helped curb his appetite for opioids. When that study came to an end, he reached out to Dr. Will Porter at Porter Primary Care Bristol. He was accepted into the MAT program that includes counseling, case management, regular exams, urinalysis and a suboxone prescription.
There have been bumps along the way, he concedes.
“I would relapse during hard times,” he said. “It takes time to start thinking clean again,” Ethan said.
Thanks to hard work and support, he’s now on the straight and narrow. Come November, it will be two years without a relapse.
He’s now reaping the rewards of clean living.
 “I just got my job back today,” he announced proudly during his recent chat with the Independent.
Ethan said suboxone has been “100 percent effective” in stemming his urge for opioids.
He said he doesn’t get a “high” from suboxone. Moreover, he knows the drug has a blocker in it that would substantially negate the high he could derive from heroin or opioid pills, if he were to relapse. Thus, there is less incentive for him to seek out drugs while he is on suboxone.
“You spend the money and you don’t get the feeling you’re looking for because it’s blocking the endorphins in your system,” he explained.
Ethan is currently working with Porter on a plan to wean himself off of suboxone.
 “I can’t tell you how much the program has done for me,” Ethan said.
“It’s saved my life.”
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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