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Does Suboxone Get You High?

Does Suboxone get you high? This article will answer this and more about this treatment for opioid addiction and withdrawal.

Table of Contents

What Is Suboxone?

Suboxone is one of many medications used in the treatment of substance use disorder. It is a prescription medication that is made up of buprenorphine and naloxone. Because of the combined effects of these substances, Suboxone is best used in treating opioid addiction and withdrawal.

How Does Suboxone Work?

The main factor of Suboxone is buprenorphine. Buprenorphine is an opioid, which means when taken as prescribed, it’s a beneficial pain reliever. However, as an opioid, it still has the potential for abuse, addiction, and even overdose.

As a result, naloxone is another important component. Suboxone is what is known as an opioid antagonist. Opioid antagonists block certain areas of the brain, which prevent opioids from producing those euphoric effects that often lead to getting high and addiction. 

In the instance that Suboxone was to be abused or misused, the naloxone would help induce opioid withdrawal symptoms and prevent an overdose.1

What Is The Half-Life Of Suboxone?

A half-life is the amount of time it takes for exactly half of the original dose of a substance to remain. To better understand the half-life of Suboxone, it’s important to understand the half-life of buprenorphine.

Half-Life of Buprenorphine

Buprenorphine has a long half-life, which some scientists link to the fact that most of it is eliminated through using the restroom. Because naloxone is often dormant when taking Suboxone as prescribed, Suboxone’s half-life is more closely related to that of buprenorphine. As a result, you can expect Suboxone to have a half-life of around three hours.2

Does Suboxone Get You High?

Because of how naloxone works, Suboxone won’t produce a euphoric high like other opioids. However, it still has a potential for abuse, and it’s also a common street drug.

This is because Suboxone can be used in between doses of other substances, such as heroin, to prevent withdrawal. Although it won’t produce a high, it does trigger an increase in dopamine, a feel-good chemical in the brain. 

However, with proper use, Suboxone won’t get you high. In fact, it is designed in a specific way to help prevent that when taken as prescribed.

Why Suboxone is so Effective

One of the most beneficial aspects of Suboxone is its ability to aid in recovery from opioid addiction while also increasing overdose safety.

Opioid Withdrawal

When someone no longer uses opioids, they will often experience what is known as withdrawal. One opioid withdrawal symptom is strong psychological cravings for the substance, which can lead to binge use and an elevated risk for overdose. 

A year-long study ending in April of 2021 found that overdose deaths from opioids increased to 75,673. In the year prior, that number was only 56,064.3

A Safe Way To Recover

As a result, providing safe ways to recover from opioid use disorder is important. Suboxone is such an effective treatment because not only does it reduce the effects of opioids, and thus their addictivity, but its naloxone component also helps manage and reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms. 

This includes cravings. And, in the case of abuse, naloxone will also work to help reverse the possibly life-threatening effects in order to provide enough time to seek medical help.

Buprenorphine has also proved to be beneficial in the treatment of opioid withdrawal symptoms.4

What to Expect When Taking Suboxone

Although Suboxone is used to help reduce the symptoms and risks associated with opioid use disorder and opioid withdrawal, it can still result in some negative side effects. 

While these are mostly mild, it is important to reach out to your doctor if you notice any changes in severity or if the side effects make daily life difficult.

Suboxone Symptoms

Some symptoms associated with Suboxone may include:
  • sweating
  • decreased appetite
  • increased body temperature (fever)
  • goosebumps on the skin, usually arms or legs sometimes feet or hands
  • runny nose (watery eyes)
  • loss of energy, feeling tired
  • hot flashes, chills
  • increased heart rate (could be dangerous)
  • anxiety or fear
  • dilated pupils
  • excessive yawning

Is Suboxone Addictive?

Because Suboxone utilizes buprenorphine, an opioid, there is a risk for addiction when Suboxone is not taken as prescribed. However, following the instructions provided by the prescribing health care professional can greatly reduce this risk.

What happens if you take opioids while on Suboxone?

Because Suboxone is made up of an opioid, combining it with different opioids can be dangerous. It can elevate the risks for more severe side effects, including overdose. However, Suboxone is designed in a way to reduce the need for other opioids, as well as the psychological cravings for them.

Suboxone Side Effects

Any time a new substance is introduced to the body, there is a risk for side effects. Suboxone is no exception. While side effects are more common for other substances, especially those taken outside of the guidelines established by a doctor, there are still some Suboxone side effects to prepare for.

Potential Side Effects

The exact Suboxone side effects can vary from person to person. However, some of the side effects that be experienced can include:
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Numb mouth
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness and fainting
  • Problems with concentration
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Insomnia
  • Blurry vision
  • Back pain
  • Drowsiness

Myths about using Suboxone to treat opiate addiction

Because Suboxone is a relatively new treatment for opioid use disorder and addiction, there are many misconceptions about its use. Some of the myths surrounding Suboxone as a treatment for opiate addiction include:
  • You aren’t really in recovery if you’re on Suboxone
  • People frequently misuse Suboxone
  • It’s as easy to overdose on Suboxone as it is to overdose on other opiates
  • Suboxone isn’t treatment for addiction if you aren’t getting therapy along with it
  • Suboxone should only be taken for a short period of time

Get Help For Suboxone Addiction at Ripple Ranch

Although Suboxone provides a beneficial way to treat opioid use disorder, there are some risks when it comes to misuse. At Ripple Ranch Recovery Center, you’ll find an accredited and licensed team of professional health care providers ready to provide you with the comfort and empathy you need during your recovery journey.