Subsys - A New, More Powerful Opiate?


As if OxyContin, Vicodin and other synthetic opioids do not cause enough drug overdoses or produce enough drug addicts, the pharmaceutical industry has just introduced yet another powerful opioid that one sprays in the mouth, called Subsys. This new drug is one hundred times stronger than morphine and is estimated to be a few hundred times more powerful than heroin. It was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in January of 2012 for breakthrough cancer pain. This is pain which occurs in episodes that have peak severity in three to five minutes despite background pain medication.

While those in severe pain deserve relief, there is no doubt that introducing a more powerful, easily-abused version of fentanyl opens the door to more abuse. Those who have followed the progression of other ultra-powerful pain relievers know that the ready availability of prescription opioids led to a rash of prescription painkiller abuse and overdose deaths. The situation in the past ten years has gotten so severe with people taking prescription painkillers for other than medical purposes that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has labeled this an epidemic. The CDC states that the misuse and abuse of prescription painkillers was responsible for more than 475,000 emergency department visits in 2009, a number that nearly doubled in just five years. According to results from the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than 12 million people reported the use of prescription painkillers non-medically in 2010, that is, using them without a prescription or for the feeling they cause.

Since 1999, so many thousands of people have overdosed on OxyContin, for example, that the manufacturer was forced to change the formulation to make it sticky so it could not be crushed to be snorted or injected. In 2010 when the new sticky formula was introduced, many people opted to change their drug of choice to heroin, which was less expensive and readily available. Others chose to use Opana (oxymorphone), another opiate. Recently the formulation of Opana had to be changed to make it less readily abused.

The question now becomes will this new super powerful fentanyl formula become the next drug to be prone to abuse? Not only is it much more powerful, it is also designed for use by people who already have built up a tolerance to other opiates. That means that a person who tries this drug just once could receive an overdose rather easily.

How to Curb the Prescription Painkiller Epidemic

The answer to curbing this drug epidemic is multi-faceted. One element is certainly curtailing over-prescribing by unethical or unaware practitioners. Another is more universal tracking of prescriptions issued in multiple states and by various pharmacies. But the most effective reduction is going to come from reducing the demand for such drugs.

Narconon Answers the Need for Effective Drug Education and Drug Rehab

Effective drug rehab and effective drug education are the solutions for drug demand reduction. At Narconon centers around the world, both effective drug education and drug rehabilitation are achieved daily. At more than fifty locations around the globe, Narconon operates drug rehabilitation centers where they deliver their full eight-phase very effective drug rehab program. For the past forty-five years, tens of thousands of people have found Narconon’s holistic approach to drug rehab to be successful for kicking their drug or alcohol habit.

It begins with the decision to get clean and sober. After that decision is made, one just follows the step-by-step Narconon program leading back to long-lasting sobriety. One starts with a relatively tolerable withdrawal, and then moves through the unique Narconon New Life Detoxification Program. Both of these address the physical aspects of addiction.

Once the physical manifestations and drug cravings are handled, Narconon then provides several life skills courses, which help one recovering from addiction to live a drug-free life. Here he learns many skills, including those which improve his communication ability, his ability to confront life and the reasons that he became addicted in the first place. There is even a course to help him to recover his personal integrity, and if needed, make up damage he caused to family and friends while addicted. This helps to free him up from the guilt that accompanies addiction.

When done with all eight parts of the Narconon program, he graduates with a plan to follow for his future sober life. In fact, seven of ten Narconon graduates do stay sober and drug-free at least two years after finishing the program.

To learn more about the full eight-phase Narconon program and find locations around the world for effective drug education or rehabilitation, visit


  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Results from the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: volume 1: summary of national findings. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies; 2011. Available from URL:

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