Can Suboxone Get You High? | Suboxone Abuse Potential

Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS

on January 12, 2023

Suboxone is a Schedule III controlled substance with abuse potential, which also means it can create a potentially habit-forming high. Suboxone abuse may lead to unintended side effects and require additional opioid addiction treatment.

When abused, Suboxone can create a “high” or euphoric effect. 

According to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Suboxone is a Schedule III controlled substance with the potential for abuse that can lead to physical or psychological dependence.

The combination of buprenorphine and naloxone (brand name Suboxone) is a medication used to help treat opioid use disorder during a specialized form of treatment known as medication-assisted treatment (MAT)

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states this type of treatment combines behavioral therapy with certain medications to alleviate cravings and reduce the risk of relapse.

Although used as treatment for substance use disorder, some who take Suboxone abuse the medication, leading to a number of serious side effects and health problems.

How Does Suboxone Get You High?

Suboxone may lead to a high when you take the drug not as prescribed. Suboxone combines naloxone, an opioid antagonist, with buprenorphine, a partial opioid agonist.

The drug buprenorphine attaches to opioid receptors and affects the central nervous system, creating a high with euphoric sensations and sedation. In addition to this, other side effects of a Suboxone high may consist of drowsiness and dizziness.

Ceiling Effect

Those taking large doses of Suboxone may not experience a greater high due to the “ceiling effect” caused by buprenorphine. The “ceiling effect” limits the ability of Suboxone to produce a more intense high those with opioid addiction may desire.

Forms Of Suboxone Abuse

Those who take Suboxone may participate in various forms of Suboxone abuse. This form of drug abuse can result in an overdose or life-threatening health complications.

Route Of Administration

Abuse of Suboxone can also take place when the drug is not taken as prescribed. For instance, snorting, smoking, plugging, or injecting Suboxone are serious forms of drug abuse.

Those with a Suboxone addiction may turn to alternative methods to achieve the feelings of euphoria. However, snorting can lead to nosebleeds or a chronic runny nose while smoking can create issues with lung health.

Combining Medications

Speak with your healthcare provider before combining Suboxone with other medications. Drug interactions can occur, resulting in harm to your health. While taking Suboxone, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states you should avoid:

  • similar medications such as methadone
  • Subutex (Suboxone without naloxone)
  • certain supplements or vitamins
  • CNS depressants such as alcohol or benzodiazepines
  • opioid medications such as oxycodone or fentanyl
  • over-the-counter painkillers

Risks Of Suboxone Abuse

Suboxone abuse can lead to a number of serious health problems. Not only can drug interactions occur, those who take more of the medication than prescribed or abuse Suboxone in other ways may suffer from serious health effects including withdrawal and a life-threatening overdose.

Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms

Abruptly stopping the Suboxone medication can lead to opioid withdrawal symptoms. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) states withdrawal can be one of the serious side effects of the drug, including severe cravings for the euphoric effects.

A loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, and headaches may also occur if you abruptly stop taking Suboxone. Those seeking a Suboxone high may experience difficulty sleeping in addition to other withdrawal symptoms.

Suboxone Overdose

If a Suboxone overdose has taken place, contact 911 and seek urgent medical attention so you or a loved one can arrive at the emergency department as soon as possible. Naloxone may be used to help reverse the effects of opioid overdose.

Symptoms of a Suboxone overdose can range in severity. For instance, a person may exhibit pinpoint pupils, slurred speech, and fluctuations in blood pressure and heart rate.

A Suboxone overdose may result in a loss of consciousness, respiratory depression, or sudden death, especially if the drug is combined with other CNS depressants.

Addiction Treatment

For those of you seeking Suboxone addiction treatment, there are a number of treatment programs to consider. Not only is MAT treatment helpful for opioid use disorder, but other Suboxone treatment options also consist of behavioral health care, detox, and mental health counseling.

To learn how our treatment center in Ohio treats drug addiction on an inpatient basis, please contact Ohio Recovery Center today.

  1. Drug Enforcement Administration — Buprenorphine
  2. Food and Drug Administration — Suboxone
  3. National Alliance on Mental Illness — Buprenorphine/Naloxone (Suboxone)
  4. National Institute on Drug Abuse — How effective are medications to treat opioid use disorder?
  5. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Buprenorphine Sublingual and Buccal (opioid dependence)
  6. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration — Buprenorphine

Written by Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Ohio Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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