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Suboxone® Misuse and Addiction

How Common is Suboxone® Overdose?

Suboxone® is a brand name prescription medicine commonly used for medication-assisted treatment of opioid use disorder. It is made up of buprenorphine, a long-acting partial opioid agonist, and naloxone, a drug that can reverse the effects of opioids in the body and brain receptors. Although it’s used to treat opioid addiction, when misused or taken by people who do not have a high opioid tolerance from prolonged drug misuse, the potential for adverse effects become a risk, despite the medication containing naloxone.

Suboxone® FAQs:

What are Suboxone® strips used for?

People prescribed medications like Suboxone® or methadone are assumed to have a high tolerance to opioid or opiate substances like prescription pain medications or heroin. The most common use of Suboxone® is a sublingual film that is absorbed in the mouth but a pill form is also an option.

How long does Suboxone® stay in your system?

Compared to other MAT medicines, Suboxone® has an especially long elimination half-life, meaning that it stays in the body for longer than other opioids. Usually, it can take up to eight days for traces of Suboxone® to no longer be detectable in the human body.

How long do you take Suboxone®?

Every patient in MAT will have a different time frame for their treatment. Some people take Suboxone® for short-term treatment, while others need more long-term care, spanning from months to years. A medical provider will best determine the length of treatment.

Suboxone® Misuse and Addiction

If Suboxone® is taken without prescription as advised, it has the ability to make the user feel a certain euphoric high, much like when misusing other opioid substances. That’s because this medication is created for people who are already dependent on opioids and whose opioid receptors are accustomed to a certain level of substance at all times, especially to avoid withdrawal.

Suboxone® can be misused in various ways, and sharing or distributing the prescription is a highly illegal activity. Those who seek out and misuse MAT medications will often smoke Suboxone® or attempt to liquefy and ingest it intravenously, which can lead to addiction and overdose.

Suboxone® Overdose

Signs of Suboxone® overdose among those who are misusing the prescription medication include: extreme drowsiness, confusion, and dizziness, pinpoint pupils, blue pigmented lips and tips of fingers, slurred speech, and loss of coordination. The signifiers are very similar to any opioid overdose and can be just as fatal. If someone who is experiencing Suboxone® overdose isn’t helped and doesn’t receive life-saving care with the use of Narcan®, it’s possible for them to eventually stop breathing, go unconscious, and eventually become unresponsive.

While Suboxone® is a very effective medication used to treat opioid use disorder, the possibility of misuse and potential addiction or overdose still exist due to the nature of the drug. Many people successfully achieve recovery while taking Suboxone®, and those who obtain and misuse the drug often do so illegally, sometimes causing accidental, preventable, and reversible overdose if not treated in time.


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