Suboxone is a popular medication used to help people overcome an addiction to opiates, which include heroin and prescription painkillers. While the medication can be a lifesaver when used under close medical supervision, an increasing number of people are abusing the drug.
Suboxone is designed to help people adjust to a life without drugs, but many people find it has addictive properties of its own. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the issue of Suboxone addiction and provide some telltale signs of a problem with the drug.
Suboxone is made up of two components: buprenorphine and naloxone.
Buprenorphine attaches to the same receptors as heroin and prescription painkillers, reducing cravings for those drugs and helping users feel less anxious. When taken as prescribed, buprenorphine just makes users feel relaxed, but it can cause a euphoric rush in higher doses—that’s why a low dose of naloxone was added to the formula.
Naloxone is an agonist, which means it blocks the euphoric effect of opiates. With this built-in mechanism in place, experts originally believed that Suboxone was impossible to abuse. However, many people who abuse the medication find that their drug use quickly develops into an addiction.
The Path to Addiction
For some individuals, a dependency on Suboxone develops gradually, at a chemical level. Over time, the drug has an effect on their brain’s opioid and opiate receptors, and they find themselves struggling with a compulsion to take higher and higher doses of the drug. Other people are aware of the medication’s pleasurable effects and intentionally misuse the drug.
When you’ve battled addiction in the past, you’re vulnerable to new addictions in the future. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Suboxone addiction is a common problem. Many people who become addicted to Suboxone were originally using the medication to combat an addiction to another opiate drug.
Signs of Abuse
Suboxone is designed to control your withdrawal symptoms and help you progress in your recovery. If you find you’re using the drug to have fun or get high, you may be on a dangerous path that can lead you to addiction. Other signs of a problem include:
- Taking your pills the wrong way: If you’re chewing your pills, crushing them to snort or mixing the pulverized pills with water to inject, you may be addicted. Addiction is also a possibility if you find yourself taking multiple doses at a time.
- Running out of your prescription: If you’ve been prescribed Suboxone as part of your treatment program, and you’re running out of pills far earlier than you should, you likely have a problem with the drug.
- Loss of control: People with an addiction have a hard time getting a handle on how much of the drug they take; in addition, they find that most of their decisions revolve around getting the drug.
Suboxone has the potential for abuse and addiction, but the drug can also be extremely beneficial for people who are battling an opiate addiction. Suboxone is meant to be administered as part of a comprehensive drug treatment program, and its use should be closely monitored. If you’re using Suboxone in higher doses than you were prescribed or you’re using the drug without a prescription, you may be headed for an addiction.