The Raked Sand of a Zen Garden represents the Denali Philosophy of bringing order to the chaos of addiction.

Understanding The Science of Drug Addiction

The physical affects of narcotics are related to the pharmacology of the drug.  Opiate receptors exist in the body, like light sockets waiting for a bulb.  When we fill a certain percentage of the available sockets with a narcotic, we get an effect- pain relief, euphoria and altered levels of awareness.

If, for the sake of argument, the average person had 100 receptors, and we gave them some Vicodin and filled 80 of them, we get an effect (obviously these numbers are made up, but the concept is what is important to understand).

The problem is that, over time, if we continue to take the Vicodin, we end up with more receptors.

Say after 2 months instead of 100 receptors, we now have 150.  In order to get the same effect as we had when we took enough Vicodin to fill 80 of them to start with, now we have to take enough to fill 120.  Over time, the number of receptors continue to climb.  After 4 months, perhaps we have 300, and now to get the same effect as we originally had we have to take enough Vicodin to fill 240 of the 300 receptors.  Graphing it shows not a straight line, but a rapidly rising curve.

Suboxone blocking narcoticsThat is the first problem, we develop tolerance to the Vicodin, and must take more and more to overcome that tolerance and get the effect we desire, be it pain relief or euphoria.  The second problem is that the amount of Vicodin we can physically tolerate taking is unchanging, and eventually we can no longer tolerate the amount of narcotic we need to take to keep up with our increasing tolerance.

Not only does this mean we have unanswered pain, but the empty receptors that remain are screaming to be filled.  These are commonly called 'cravings'.  So we continue to take the high doses of the narcotic not to deaden the pain or feel mellow, but to quiet the receptors and prevent ourselves from going into withdrawal. We are trapped and can't get away without going into withdrawal.

Strategies To Break Dependency

Cold Turkey

The first is cold turkey.  We simply stop taking narcotics- more and more receptors empty out and the screams of the empty sockets get louder and louder, we get sicker and sicker and in sort order we fail.  Our bodies, with pain, nausea, anxiety and uncontrolled bowels force us to start taking the narcotics again.

Replacement Therapy (Methadone)

Strategy number two is to simply start taking a narcotic (methadone) again, fill the receptors and accomplish nothing.

Decreasing Dosage (Suboxone)

The third way is to take a narcotic, and fill 50% of the receptors. We deal with a little sweating and maybe a little nausea until the number of receptors drifts back down over time until that same dose fills perhaps 75% of the ones that are left. Then we cut back to filling 50% of those and repeat the process.

Suboxone Therapy Works

Suboxone occupies the receptors but doesn't do much for pain or euphoria.  It allows us to concentrate on getting the total number of receptors down to normal over the course of a few months to a year.  We concentrate on withdrawing a little at a time, no more than tolerable, and the patient is not "rewarded" for taking the drug.

The number of receptors took months to build up to the level we became tolerant and it will take months for them to drift back to normal.  But the key to the program is to always move forward, one step, one reduction in dose at a time.

Denali Healthcare provides marijuana friendly suboxone therapy to help with withdrawal symptoms. Suboxone therapy is designed to help those currently on narcotics, both prescription and non-prescription, who wish to end their dependency on them while minimizing the symptoms of withdrawal and detox. We have had great results, and this is a proven method of addiction therapy. We provide a viable alternative to a methadone clinic.

Call for Help: (989) 339-4464

The Cost of Suboxone Therapy

Addiction Therapy accomplished by frequent contact with our clinical staff, and you can expect a change in your dosages (generally a reduction) at most office visit. This is an expensive program, the first visit is $400 which includes your initial evaluation, follow up visits are $125 and random drug screens are an additional $60 each. Patients are not kept on long term suboxone therapy. They are on suboxone to get off all narcotics, including suboxone. Denali Healthcare does not accept insurance and insurance may or may not cover the cost of the medication.

Patients need to arrange substance abuse counseling PRIOR to their first visit with our nurse and MUST be in counseling to participate in the program by law. Contact our office for help finding a counselor.

Need Help Paying for Your Prescriptions?

Print Discount Cards for Suboxone     Suboxone 'Here to Help' Program


How Did I Develop Drug Addiction

Drug Addiction By Nora Volkow, M.D., Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse What Is Addiction? It all comes down to physiology rather than character.

Call us today to regain your life! (989) 339-4464

Denali Health Care Michigan

For your convenience, we have locations in Cadillac, Gaylord, Kalamazoo, Lansing,
Mt. Pleasant, Muskegon, Saginaw and Traverse City.



(989) 339-4464