Drugs like Suboxone used to bridge recovery from addiction

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Some of the prescription drugs involved in a DEA investigation in Indiana are extremely powerful and you may not have heard of them before.

When patients are addicted to opiates, their body starts to crave them - it's their sole focus. If they stop, withdrawal is dreadful.

Leland Campbell is using Suboxone as a bridge for his recovery.

"This can happen to anybody," he said.

Sometimes, he works out twice a day. He says it's a positive activity that is part of his plan to stay clean after a football injury led to an addiction to painkillers.

"It's the lower lumbar where I had the first pain," Campbell said.

But the pills took the pain away, gave him a high he craved and fueled his search for new sources of pills.

"Friends, parents and their medicine cabinets, family member medicine cabinet. Really anywhere, then I started buying them," Campbell said.

It was a seven-year journey that ended with a suicide attempt and a new resolve.

"I put this stuff in my body, I got to get it out," he said.

That led to withdrawal.

"It's like hell on earth, really," Campbell said.

But at the Fairbanks treatment center, he got support, including counseling, therapy and controlled use of Suboxone.

"There is buprenorphine in there, which is a very long-acting opiate that helps with the pain and withdrawal symptoms. There is also another medicine in there naloxone that blocks that opiate receptor that gives the euphoric...so you should not feel anything," said Robin Parsons, Director of Adult Services at Fairbanks.

"This wasn't getting me high. It was just to use towards the cravings and things like that," Campbell said. "A guy told me, when you have a broken leg, you use a crutch to walk and I kind of look at it like that. I needed a crutch to help me through the recovery process."

Every case is different and there is division within the addiction community. Some believe drugs should not play a role, but others, like at Fairbanks, point to scientific studies which show that when properly administered to the right people with counseling, they are effective.