Nurses Reading a Booklet about Addiction
Blog

What is Suboxone? Can Someone Get High On It, Or Become Addicted To It?

August 26, 2020

Suboxone is the brand name of a popular maintenance medication.  It is intended to treat narcotic addiction by decreasing the symptoms of addiction as well as reducing cravings for drugs such as heroin, codeine, fentanyl and oxycodone, and also helping with opioid withdrawal.

It is made up of two different medications: buprenorphine and naloxone.   Buprenorphine is considered a partial agonist, which when taken properly, prevents other opioids from binding to receptors in the nervous system.  In other words, it “blocks” the ability for someone who is taking it to feel that same high that they feel when they take heroin or other opioids, yet it allows for the body to be able to wean off of heroin/opioids and also avoid withdrawal.  Buprenorphine is not likely to cause the strong sedation and euphoria which most opioids cause, but for someone who has an opioid addiction, buprenorphine will appease their basic opioid cravings and suppress withdrawal symptoms.

The second ingredient in Suboxone, naloxone, is an opioid antagonist.  This means that is blocks and reverses the effects of opioids in a person’s nervous system. It is used in Suboxone to prevent people from overdosing on the buprenorphine.  Another, equally as important usage for naloxone in the Suboxone is to minimize someone’s risk of relapse by ultimately preventing them from experiencing the euphoric and addictive sensation that opioids would normally produce.

So, can Suboxone get you high?  Our Senior Medical Director at BrightView, Dr. Parag Patel, says, “if you are opioid naïve or have had minimal exposure to opioids, yes, as an opioid itself, buprenorphine can make a person feel euphoric or give them a ‘high’ feeling, however, this is why our medical professionals at all of our BrightView centers take extreme precautions when prescribing buprenorphine to our patients.”  If you have been in active addiction with opioids being your main drug of choice for however long it has been, Suboxone will not give you a "high" feeling, because the buprenorphine in the medication will have something that is called a ceiling effect.   A ceiling effect is the point where the medication reaches its limit in its ability to be used to achieve a “high” or feeling of euphoria. BrightView’s medical professionals have been extensively educated and trained on all of the maintenance medications that we offer and prescribe.

Is it possible to become addicted to Suboxone? Given buprenorphine’s slow onset, mild effects, and relatively long duration cycle, the effect on the brain’s reward system is minimal as is its potential for addiction.  According to the AmericanAddictionCenter.org, “those treated with buprenorphine are more vulnerable to opioid addiction than average. It’s rare that someone shows compulsion toward taking the medication. The possibility exists, however, to become addicted to anything that leads to pleasure.”

Every medical professional at BrightView is required to go through training on maintenance medications and buprenorphine prescribing and administering.  Our doctors and nurses are educated extensively on the disease of addiction and we encourage transparency with our patients, so that the transition of information from doctor to patient is as effortless and straightforward as it can possibly be.

If you need help, reach out to us today at 1-833-510-HELP to discuss treatment options. BrightView offers drug treatment centers that take Medicaid and Medicare throughout the state of Ohio, so if payment is a concern, please know that there are options available that can help.

Up Next:
Loading...