Suboxone is an FDA-approved medication designed to be used in people who are struggling with opioid addiction to help manage opioid withdrawal symptoms and opioid cravings.
Because Suboxone contains an opioid component (buprenorphine), it has the potential to get you high if you are ‘opioid naive’. However, the risk of abuse is low.
In this guide, we will cover:
- If Suboxone really gets you high
- The components of Suboxone and their function
- If Suboxone is addictive
- What happens if you try to abuse Suboxone.
Let’s get started.
Does Suboxone Get You High?
Because Suboxone contains an opioid agonist (buprenorphine), it has the potential to produce mild euphoric effects or a “high” in people who have not taken opioids before.
However, the medication also contains naloxone, which is an opioid antagonist. Naloxone ensures that only small amounts of opioids can bind to receptors, ensuring no big high can occur.
Understanding Suboxone: Its Components and Function
Suboxone contains two active ingredients: buprenorphine and naloxone.
Buprenorphine acts as a partial agonist on the opioid receptor. This means it weakly binds to the same place other opioids such as heroine, oxycodone and fentanyl do.
By doing this, buprenorphine is able to reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, irritability and muscle pains. It also helps to reduce opioid cravings and drug seeking behaviors.
Naloxone is an opioid antagonist, which means that it blocks some opioid receptors and prevents the medications misuse.
Naloxone ensures that the medication is not injected or inhaled. If someone tries to either inject or snort the medication, naloxone produces highly unpleasant symptoms that are similar to opioid withdrawal – discouraging this behavior.
What does Suboxone feel like?
Suboxone is used to reduce the negative symptoms and feelings associated with drug withdrawal. It helps to manage withdrawal symptoms such as muscle aches, fever, headaches and irritability.
Suboxone also has antidepressant and antianxiety effects which helps people in withdrawal manage their mood and drug-seeking behaviors.
Is Suboxone Addictive?
Because Suboxone contains buprenorphine which binds to the same place that other opioids do, it is technically considered addictive. However, it does not result in a high in people with Opioid Use Disorder.
Subxone contains naloxone, which prevents injection or inhalation of the medication – making it a lot more difficult to misuse. In studies showing how often people misuse prescription medications, medications such as buprenorphine and methadone combined appear in about 15% of all misuse cases.
Meanwhile, drugs such as oxycodone and hydrocodone appear in 67% of cases.
Risks of Misusing or Abusing Suboxone
- Injecting risk: Some people who misuse Suboxone may try to inject the medication. This is associated with risks such as hepatitis and HIV. The tablets may also contain talc, which when injected can cause serious lung damage.
- Risk of withdrawal symptoms: If you try to inject Suboxone, the naloxone component starts to block opioid receptors. Paradoxically, this can trigger uncomfortable withdrawal-like symptoms.
- Respiratory depression: If multiple Subxone tablets or films are taken at once, there is a risk of respiratory depression. This occurs when your breathing slows down due to the opioid effect, which can result in a fatal overdose when mixed with other opioids.
- Prolonged recovery: If you are taking Suboxone, it is likely that you were prescribed it as part of Medication Assisted Treatment for opioid dependence. If you start abusing the medication, it can make it harder to achieve your goals of sobriety and set you back in your recovery.
How to get Suboxone
If you struggle with Opioid Use Disorder, a DEA-registered physician is able to prescribe Suboxone. When you meet with a doctor, they will ask about your opioid use and general health to see if Suboxone is right for you.
Alternatively, you can meet with a Suboxone doctor virtually. Telehealth consultations offer an accessible way to receive a prescription for Suboxone.
By meeting with physicians online or over the phone, you can easily receive help and discuss if Suboxone is right for you.
Suboxone can be used as part of medication-assisted treatment to help effectively treat opioid dependence by reducing withdrawal symptoms and cravings for other opioids.
Although the medication can technically get people who have little experience with opioids high, it is very difficult for people who struggle with Opioid Use Disorder to get high off the medication. Therefore, it is considered to have a low potential for abuse.
If you are prescribed Suboxone, it is important to work alongside a healthcare professional and continue to take the medication under medical supervision.