Suboxone Addiction

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At first glance, Suboxone addiction seems a contradiction to find a drug that is used to treat addiction has the potential to be addictive itself. But that’s the case with Suboxone. To understand why, it helps to get into the details of what Suboxone addiction is and how it works.

Suboxone is a combination of two drugs – buprenorphine and naloxone. Each of these has effects on opioid receptors in the body. These receptors are responsible for the pleasant effects (and the Suboxone side effects) of taking drugs like morphine, codeine and heroin. The receptors come in several sub-types, with the most important being the mu, kappa, and delta. It is the different sub-type that determines whether a drug will cause euphoria, pain relief or any of the other effects seen with narcotics. Each of the two drugs in Suboxone has a different effect across these sub-types as well.

Naloxone blocks the central nervous system effects of narcotics and is useful to treat overdose when there is a risk of coma or death from suppression of the breathing reflex. It is commonly used for this and has saved many lives. But it must be injected, taking it orally doesn’t allow for absorption. This means that addicts with Suboxone addiction who try to grind up Suboxone to get high will suffer the effects of the naloxone and may even go into withdrawal.

The other ingredient, buprenorphine, has effects similar to heroin or morphine, but much less so. It can help heroin addicts transition away from injecting heroin without having to go through the full experience of withdrawal. The idea is similar to using methadone treatment – although still addicted, the Suboxone addiction is less harmful than injecting heroin.

A problem comes in when someone who isn’t under a physician’s care starts using Suboxone to get high. They may not even be addicted to heroin, but use Suboxone as their primary drug of abuse. Suboxone is addictive on its own because of the buprenorphine in it. In fact, those who aren’t used to opioids (like heroin or morphine) can get a strong experience from Suboxone addiction.

But even those who use it appropriately can have a physical Suboxone addiction. This happens when someone has been taking it for some time stops. Buprenorphine withdrawal is less severe than heroin or morphine, but the symptoms are parallel. For this reason, when used under a doctor’s care, the dose of Suboxone will be lowered gradually over time.

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I had to come and bring up

I had to come and bring up some things for anyone reading this article. I am a Buprenorphine advocate, educator, and a licensed chemical dependency counselor assistant(CDCA) in Ohio. I am working on my Bachelors Degree in Psychology,Addiction Studies- and yes I am in recovery. Just so everyone knows I have some background in the topic.

Buprenorphine is an "partial agonist", meaning it reaches a ceiling or once at a moderate level the drug will not have a stronger effect even if you ingest more. It has a half life of approximately thirty seven hours, meaning if you took an 8mg tab of Buprenorphine it would take about 37 hours to be half that amount in your system.This unique property makes the drug safe and effective in treating opioid addiction.

If you are using Suboxone to get high but never touched heroin or pain killers, you are asking for trouble. Just like any opiate, addiction will prevail upon continued use. I did not want to believe that someone would use Suboxone to get high this way, but it is happening. I met a young man in addiction treatment last year that was using Suboxone with marijuana. He had never taken Heroin or pain pills, but decided to smoke a laced joint because his friends said it would be OK. The result of his behavior brought him to the treatment facility. It is very dangerous take a prescription medication that does not belong to you, especially a drug prescribed to treat opiate addiction. Do not put your life in the hands of your friends this way. Everyone reacts differently to prescription medication and what may not hurt your friend could severely hurt you.

Suboxone is a tool in addiction treatment, not a party drug. If you are seeking treatment, make sure the doctor prescribing Suboxone has other tools available to you for treating your addiction, ask for educational materials, support services. etc. Getting the drug without any other help is not going to get you clean. Recovery is a long and tricky process, you need all the help you can get.

Thank you for bringing this information!

First and foremost, I must

First and foremost, I must congratulate you on your recovery. Being a recovering addict, myself, I know how difficult it can be. With regards to the use of Suboxone, I unfortunately did use suboxone, without a prescription, to wean my withdrawal symptoms from methatdone. I have been herion free for 8+ years now, and completely Methadone/suboxone free for 1 1/2 years. I took just a little bit to not take away, but alleviate the withdrawl symptoms.

Here is my question. I have family members that decided to get off of the methadone 5 years ago. They are still using suboxone... and act the same way any addict will act when they cannot get their dose...I want to help them, because they are only fooling themselves saying they are prescribed it, but always run out because they take more than there dose. What can I suggest to them as an alternative to getting off of the suboxones...I think suboxones helped me...maybe its just that they are trying to fool everyone else that they still dont have a problem...but I see differently. I love my family, and live very far from them, but the research I have done has left me without knowledge. Any information or suggestions would be so much GREATLY APPRECIATED...

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