Can Suboxone Get You High? [Risks & Effects]


Suboxone treatment is highly unlikely to get a person high , especially if it’s given to people treated for substance abuse who already have opioid tolerance.

On the other hand, people who are opioid-naïve can experience euphoria, visual hallucinations, and other psychotic symptoms if they take Suboxone for recreational purposes.

Let’s take a deeper look into the addictive potential of Suboxone, causative factors for its misuse, and the underlying mechanism for getting you high.

How Can Suboxone Get Someone High?

Suboxone is a prescription medication for opioid use disorder (OUD) that has proven to be effective alongside counseling and behavioral treatment.

Since buprenorphine, which is the active ingredient of Suboxone, partially activates opioid receptors in the brain, people wonder whether the medication itself can induce psychotic symptoms.

The key challenges that people face when starting OUD treatment, especially early on, are drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms that increase the risk of relapse.

The role of the buprenorphine component of Suboxone is that it acts on the same receptors activated by opioids like cocaine, oxycodone, morphine, and heroin.

The partial binding to opioid receptors minimizes opioid withdrawal symptoms, but at the same time accounts for Suboxone addictive potential.

Buprenorphine-induced psychotic symptoms can be seen in cases of drug abuse.

For a person taking Suboxone to become high, multiple things have to take place, including:

  • No history of OUD. In such cases, the opioid receptors in the brain didn’t develop tolerance to buprenorphine.
  • Concomitant liver disease that hinders the body’s capacity to break down the medication, which leads to the buildup of Suboxone.
  • The administration of other substances that act on the opioid receptors and potentiate the effects of Suboxone. Those include alcohol, benzodiazepines, and methadone, to name a few.

The route of administration plays a role on whether Suboxone can get you high. Psychotic symptoms can only be seen in people overdosing on Suboxone tablets or oral strips.

This isn’t the case if Suboxone is given intravenously because the naloxone component of Suboxone exerts opioid antagonist effects precipitating withdrawal symptoms upon reaching the bloodstream directly through injection into a vein or snorting.

Symptoms of buprenorphine withdrawal include severe pain episodes, flu-like presentation, frequent yawning, and diarrhea.

It’s worth noting that if the medication is given as intended, naloxone remains inactive and there’s no risk of Suboxone withdrawal.

Misconceptions About Suboxone Treatment

Suboxone can only get people high under specific, limited circumstances. This negates the false beliefs that the drug worsens addiction.

It’s important to address those misconceptions once and for all, as they can deter people from seeking treatment for OUD.

Some people seeking treatment for substance misuse believe that by taking Suboxone, they’re only replacing one addictive substance with another.

That’s not true, as Suboxone is a weak opioid that only partially acts on the opioid receptors.

When administered as prescribed, people are receiving a research-proven, effective medication.

The medical protocol allows people to remain abstinent from opioid misuse and achieve long-lasting recovery.

What Is the Suboxone Ceiling Effect?

Like other opioids, Suboxone possesses an interesting pharmacological property known as the ceiling effect.

This means that Suboxone is only capable of achieving a certain degree of euphoria even at high doses. In other words, the analgesic and euphoric symptoms of Suboxone tend to plateau.

That said, the same isn’t true when it comes to Suboxone’s adverse effects. Respiratory depression is dose dependent and tends to become worse as people overdose on Suboxone.

This explains why people don’t usually overdose on such medications as the incentive of getting a “better” high is non-existent and extremely dangerous.

Do You Only Need Suboxone for a Short Period?

Suboxone isn’t only intended for the acute management of opioid withdrawal symptoms.

The drug is necessary for a successful, long-term abstinence and is prescribed for extended durations to prevent opioid craving and minimize the risk of relapse.

In some cases, doctors will recommend you stick to the Suboxone treatment for life.

It’s important to look at substance abuse as a chronic condition, like hypertension for instance, that requires ongoing screening and treatment.

Access Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction Today…

If you, or a loved one, are battling opioid use disorder and would like to know whether medication-assisted treatment is suitable, book an appointment with Curednation today.


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