Can you get high on buprenorphine?

Buprenorphine does not get you high if you use it the right way. While some opioid naive people may experience euphoric effect on buprenrophine, it does not cause strong side effects. More on buprenorphine and its potential for abuse here.

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It’s pretty difficult to get high on buprenrophine. In fact, buprenorphine has been designed to block symptoms of opiate withdrawal and cravings by activating the opiate receptors in the central nervous system.  But buprenorphine, in general, is not an intense enough drug to produce the heightened feelings of euphoria created by other opioids or opiates. More on buprenorphine abuse potential here, with a section for your questions about buprenorphine addiction treatments at the end.

What is buprenorphine?

Buprenorphine, the main active ingredient in brand name drugs such as Buprenex®; Butrans™; Subutex®, and Suboxone, is a medicine used for treating opiate or opioid addiction. Buprenorphine works a lot like methadone, but instead of getting it at a special clinic, a doctor prescribes it to you in an office and you can take it at home. This process can make treatment and administration easier for you. But how does buprenorphine work in the brain?

Buprenorphine and central nervous system effects

Buprenorphine works by stimulating and occupying the brain’s opiate receptors but only partially satisfies them by not being a perfect fit. Thus, buprenorphine helps to ease withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings by activating the opiate receptors but not in an intense enough way to produce the heightened feelings of euphoria that heroin would produce. If a user attempts to take another opiate such as heroin while taking buprenorphine, there will be no effect.

Buprenorphine and euphoria or euphoric effect

Buprenorphine blocks symptoms of withdrawal and craving and helps you to not use heroin, morphine, or stronger opioid medications. Buprenorphine stops these opiate based drugs from getting you “high” and interrupts withdrawal symptoms and cravings (the strong feeling that you need to have it). Buprenorphine does not get you high if you use it the right way and it does not cause strong side effects. Plus, it is hard to get sick or overdose from it.

Getting high on buprenorphine

Opioid naive people are most likely to experience any kind of buprenorphine “high”. However, buprenorphine is rarely prescribed for those who have not already developed some kind of tolerance to opiate/opioid based medications or illicit opiate drugs.

Risks of buprenorphine abuse

Risks of buprenorphine abuse are relatively low because the medication has been designed to have a “ceiling effect” based on dosage. So doses of 18-32 mg can be effective, but higher doses are unlikely to produce greater effect. In other words, buprenorphine has been designed to make it difficult to get high. There are three steps, or “phases” of buprenorphine treatment for opiate addiction:

1. Induction phase

This period usually lasts for about one week. The goal is to figure out the dose of burprenorphine that works best to relieve user’s withdrawal symptoms and craving. The first dose is usually administerd during the early stage of withdrawal – about 10 to 24 hours after their last dose of stronger opiates/opioids. First users take a test dose, followed by another dose to relieve withdrawal symptoms. Then, a doctor may ask users to stay in the office for several hours after their first dose to see how the early doses affect them. During the first week, they may have to see doctor several times. The dose can be raised if withdrawal symptoms are still present.

2. Stabilization phase

The goal in this phase of buprenorphine prescription is to continue to avoid withdrawal symptoms or cravings. Usually this phase lasts for about 1-2 months. Patients get a prescription for and take buprenorphine at home. Doctor may increase the dose so that they do not have to take buprenorphine every day.

3. Maintenance phase

While maintaining doses of buprenorphine, users visit the doctor’s office to get a refill of buprenorphine about once a month. If patients have a medical history of long time heroin/opiate/opioid use and/or relapse, they may do best taking buprenorphine for a very long time. The key is to not go back to using stronger drugs and to adapt lifestyle changes before coming off buprenorphine for good.

Questions about buprenorphine

Do you still have questions about buprenorphine use or abuse? Please leave your questions in the comments section below. We’ll do our best to respond to you personally and promptly.

Reference Sources: NY State Department of Health: Buprenorphine: A New Drug for Treating Heroin Addiction
Medline Plus: Buprenorphine
Va Department of Mental Health: Buprenorphine Resource Guide
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.


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  1. Suboxone and Subutex was one of my favorite highs, especially the first few times you use it, when you haven’t used it in awhile. This is the drug of choice for many opiate addicts. This was definitely written from the pharmaceutical literature that is available online and also comes with the prescription…I call it pharmaceutical propaganda, something we are bombarded with now!!! Suboxone and Subutex have a huge street market and one strip goes for 200 in correctional institutions.

  2. That’s absurd, the buprenorphine actually blocks any other opiate by bumping it out if the receptors and the naloxone keeps you from getting any euphoric effect from the buprenorphine.

  3. I would like you to discuss how half lives work out when someone is using bupenorphine for acute chronic pain. S hould one stop bupenorphine for a clup!e of days to improve the benefit of oral opiates…..sort of a seesaw, alternating druhs? It seeme me. I am a mathematician and understand halv lives integrally.

  4. Taken every Opiate in my time been addicted to heroine for 20 years, used every type of substitute going to get through withdrawals. Hence i have acquired some knowledge of the effects of various Opiates. If you genuinely want to abstain from taking drugs like Heroine and no longer want to experience the craving then Buprenorphine is the only option, also i’ve never got any kind of buzz from taking them. They just stabilize your addiction and stop you wanting to get high. Just be careful in which order, and how long ago you have taken any other Opiates, as if you have to much still in your system and you then take Subutex you will suffer bad withdrawal and then there is nothing you can do to fix that, albeit if you take any Opiates whilst already on Subutex they just have no affect. Be very careful switching from Methadone to Subutex as that horrible stuff stays in your system for weeks taking Subs. on top of that will give you the rattle from hell. Subutex as an effective pain killer is pointless in my opinion, my help with people who are Opiate naive. I just cant believe in this day and age that they are so willing to prescribe Evil substances like methadone which stays in your system for weeks, giving you a much longer and far more severe withdrawal than with Heroine, so why cant they prescribe regulated Heroine in a safe controlled manner, Overnight overdose rates would be next to nothing, not to mention crime drastically going down, along with putting the scumbag dealers out of business, the ones who profit out of an addicts misery. why??

  5. Iv been on subutex for years from drug addiction , its a Wierd one because It just makes you feel stable, the withdrawl of them suck and iv been delaying detox for ages now because I like drugs,there fun, I don’t think enough people admit thats why they used in the first place, unless it’s heroin. I only went on subutex because I was getting to a dangerous point. Where your tolerance is crazy high. But all in all subutex is only designed to be an acute painkiller that stabilises and easier to ween off than anything else, but if I compare it to a high from having morphine or crack, it doesn’t come close.

  6. I am so grateful that my doctor has chosen to put me on this medication. I am so tired of taking pills. I have had a T1-T7 neck fusion and my pain is at the point of being unbearable. I hope this medication works.

  7. I have been using 9 years. Just once in the morning half a pill a day. I was addicted to Oxy Roxy Lortab Fentenal etc. I have not touched any drug other than the Subs I 9 years. I am a widow with a carrier and 3 depend children. I have tried to stop but am unable to handle day to day life mentally or physically due to the withdrawals of not using to just be normal. I do not get high off my dose.I work in healthcare and I can not loose my job. Nor can I stop my day to day life for treatment. I am in hell I just want to be normal. What do I do?

  8. If i took 8 mg. Of subutex how long until I can take my opiates after using the subutex will my opiate work again

  9. I am on 32mg buprenorphine, and I get high as a kite for the 3-4 hours after I have taken them. How come? Or do I just become myself, because it almost feels like taking speed for me, and before I started with opiods, I was very outgoing, as I am after 32mg. Even 4mg give me a buzz if I haven’t taken it for 14-15 hours after that.

  10. I have been taking 50mg of methadone tablets for 10 years :my doctor has given me butec 20mcg/hr transdermal patches to try. This is my 4th day and I’m getting withdrawal symptoms (and have had to take some methadone tablets as this how I’m supposed to be on this?

  11. Tbe government needs to quit this witch hunt. They will never win their war on drugs. If the opioid crisis is that big, why not let people have what they want. In parts of. Europe they have heroin clinics.and they work great. Just as good as suoxone if they don’t want to get clean why try to make.them it’s impossible.

  12. Patient after 5 days on detox, can he get 8 mgs suboxone with out risk of over dose, he is off heroine for 5 days maybe his tolerance is low now

    1. Hi Seldelka. It all depends from the doctor’s prescription and observation. You may want to speak with the doctor who prescribed that dose.

  13. You can get high on subbytex if you are opiate intolerant and if u snort it I dint recommend it and is addictive but it is the truth even 1ml Will get you high I was a heroin user who got clean and done ths in jail I was on 24ml detoxed was clean and tried it and would say it compared to my first taste of heroin but do not try please

  14. I am concerned about becoming addicted to Belbuca.. in the past I use 50 to 60 hydrocodone for chronic sin in a month. I might go a week or more and not need it but sometimes I use it 5 or 6 days in a row for pain control. My dr says belbuca is Lee damaging to my body. I am afraid I will become addicted to it because it has a Lind afterlife and could end up being in my body much longer over a month than the hydrocodone. This doesn’t make common sense to me. I would appreciate your view on this.

  15. Hello, everyone. I have been in varying degrees of pain throughout my life since mid-20, following 10 abdominal surgeries (in a span of 3 mos) in the hospital, all due to this damn thing called Crohns disease, My large bowel perforated and I was in big trouble. Point being, the pain throughout his was indescribable – initially, morphine shots every 4 hours. Years later and more recently, had to have double hip replacements, combined with degenerative lower back displacement at base of spine. Finally got into pain mgmt program and got some deree of relief or hips, lower back and collapsed left foot in nthe form of oxycodone. My doc is now recommending a change to Suboxone/buprenorphine Naloxone, and I am leery of changing based on what I am reading here – mainly because nothing address any effective relief of PAIN with the regimenn of Soboxone. I’d rather keep things status quo, qhich at least help to curn some of the pain. Can someone please offer an opinion as to what they think I whould do?
    I have lived so much of my life in high degrees of pain, I can;t take much more of it. And I’m a single dad with 2 kids counting on me, but I am reaching a point where I have had enough and about ready to call it quits – for good. Please help. God bless to all.

  16. I am on a doctors prescribed 10 MCG Butrans transdermal patch I want to get up a bit I don’t like being on something that I have to have all the time what is the best way to withdraw Can I cut the 10 MCG patches in half to start weaning off of them. I am scared of withdrawal. I am 73 years old with severe arthritis. First time I have ever taken an opiate. What can I expect if I go cold turkey, been on for about one year.

  17. Hi.Every one is different, everyone has a different tolerance. I was an opiate addict for 24 years I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at 20 and that’s what got me started. Percodan, perxocet,oxycontin. I took 20 percocets a day before I switched to oxycontin, then I started snorting. I was up to 4-6 80 mg a day. Then it got so expensive I switched to heroin then I started shooting heroin then heroin mixed with fentanyl, hated the face I was a dope fiend but absolutely loved the feeling of being high, I got into Xanax pretty heavy to. I was 40 when I tried to quit the first time. I went into a rehab that gave suboxone I was so sick OMG thought I was dying, I was puking constantly and couldn’t even let.the suboxone get in my system. Took me 3 years and 8 tries I had to literally wean down on my heroin use for the suboxone to even work. I am on 8mg 3- 4 times a day. I also have had car accident back surgeries and alot of pain. The suboxone absolutely works for me…cause I want it to..I do not want to get high on anything ever again…I have stopped craving dope, I have changed my way of life…yes there are days I hurt..but even when I was on oxy and fentanyl some days all the pain wouldn’t go away either…I say to anyone that is on drugs and really has the desire to quit..yes is expensive I pay $300 cash to my dr. And $500 for 100 8mg/2mg strips. And sometimes I take an extra strip if I’m hurting so I might run out 2 or 3 days before my Dr. Appt..and I may not feel as good as I do when I have suboxone but I’m not wanting to die like when I was out on drugs.. my dr. Is leaving it to me when I want to quit..when I do he has a great system to wean me off…please if you want off drugs and can do suboxone do it….it can absolutely change your life…and is taken under your tongue instead of pills it absolutely is better on your stomach kidneys and liver..I’m not a dr.. but my dr. Has told me and you can look it all up online…just wanted to leave this I hope I helped at least one person wanting to change there life..Have a Blessed ex junkie named Beverly

  18. My 40 yr old daughter was addicted to pain meds about 10 years ago. Since then, she has been on suboxone prescribed by a doctor. I recently discovered she has also been buying them from others. She most likely be unable to be off them since she has been on them for 10 years and now is buying extra. I don’t understand why she would buy extra. Do these cause a high? I don’t know what to do or where to go. I know it’s only a matter of time before she “needs” even more. I’m out of my mind with worry!

  19. I am currently taking temgesic for chronic pain (200mcg 4 tabs. x 3 times day) they cost me AUD $32.00 a packet of 50 which doesn’t last very long & costing me a fortune. My question is why won’t my pain specialist prescribe me the buprenorpine tablet that is taken for drug addiction for my pain which would cost me heaps less as it’s on the PBS. What do you think would be the reason? as I have asked him before & he says temgesic is the best. Don’t they contain the same ingredient? Please help!

  20. I’m thinking of using this for pain relief instead of percoset and methadone. I am a 75 yr old woman of normal stature. I would go off the opiates beginning tomorrow am and begin the titrate for this on Monday 02/20. I’m conflicted…I get no high from my meds… thas not a concern. Why am I being told about this now…why isn’t everyone on it?

  21. Buprenorphine. Can this medication make you start to forget things. I have been told this isn’t a good med to take because it will mess with you memories. Just wondering if this is true on this being a side effect. Thank you

  22. I am starting subutex tomorrow morning to stop taking heroin. If I get withdrawals after the first dose will I be OK taking lofexadine, coz I’ve got some in the cupboard?

  23. Today is day number 1. I had som diarrhea today and I’m feeling nausea . I been taking 2-4 ocxycodone for almost a year I went to a pain management guy. I’ve been on 15mg of morphine 3 x daily and 7.5 of ocxycodone. I took less than percribed. I called my sponsor and he said Stop everything now. I have plenty of meds left. I don’t want to feel sick. I have lorazepam that I can take. I have a class tomorrow and I am afraid. My sponsor is old school. I have 17+ years clean. I’m so scared. What can I do? I need help. I can and will stop. I just don’t want to be sick.

    Thank you
    Marc W

  24. I took 3 10mg loratabs 5 hours ago. Just picked up my prescription of buprenorphine and naloxone tablets. I’m a long time opiate user. If i take them now how will they affect me?

  25. Suboxone has kept me clean from Roxicodone for almost 2 years now. It works for my cravings and gives SOME pain relief. I also take other supplements with my doses for help with my “happy brain chemicals” and for potentiation. I’m prescribed 12 mg daily, but I usually only max out at 6 mg for the day. I take 2 mg doses 2-3 times per day. Maybe right now I’m dependent on Suboxone, but I’m definitely not addicted like I was with Roxis. I strived on snorting those pills and whenever I’d prepare it for dosing, I’d be in anxiety mode and trying to move as quick as possible. Suboxone on the other hand keeps me satisfied for much longer and I don’t “strive” on it like I did with pills. I’d rather have Subutex, but I’m grateful for Suboxone and how it helps me and many others. I believe Buprenorphine products could work for other drug withdrawals too, such as benzos, amps, and cocaine. All I know is that when I wake up everyday, I don’t have to wake up feeling terrible and rush toward crushing and snorting a pill first thing. I can get up, have my coffee, take my supplements, Suboxone, and Klonopin without being all rushy and striving to be high as quick as possible. I used to use 5-6 30 mg Roxicodone daily.


  27. I am a herion addict, started on vicodin and eventually worked my way up to oxycontin. When that got to expensive I started shooting herion. I love the high it gives you, the more you do it the more you want it. Herion is just as addictive as crack, but much cheaper. After ruining my looks, my teeth, my reputation, and losing everyone that I loved, including my kids, I went on methadone. I was in a maintenece program for a long time, I stayed clean for over 7 years, I started to get my life back finally. But as usual life happens and my car broke down so I no longer had transportation to my methadone clinic. I got back into drugs for awhile, then decided to try suboxone. The first few times I tried it, I went into severe withdrawls right away. I was ready to shoot myslf. After a few tries a Dr. perscribed me subutex which worked good enough. After awhile I went onto suboxone, 24 mg, a day. It kept me from being sick which I was grateful for but did nothing what so ever to curb my cravings. I still wanted to get high veryday. If I took it in the morning and waited a few hours, I was able to get high and feel it. So all it really did was keep me from being sick until I wanted to get high again. THE BIGGEST MYTH THAT PPL BELIEVE IS THAT IF YOU INJECT SUBOXONE, OR ANYTHING IN THAT FAMILY OF MEDICINE THAT IT WILL SEND YOU STRAIGHT INTO WITHDRAWLS. AS LONG AS YOU HAVENT DONE ANY DRUGS IN 24 HRS, OR ANY METHADONE IN 24-48 HRS (DEPENDING ON THE AMOUNT OF MDONE, ANYTHING UNDER 30 MG WILL NOT SEND YOU IN WITHDRAWS.) After I was on subs for a lil while I could go back in forth, as long as I didnt go so long w/out doing any subs that it was no longer in my system a few days was fine more than that I’d hav to be careful. So to all you dumb ass doctors that think suboxone is the new miracle drug, you couldnt be more wrong. It did absolutely nothing for my cravings, didnt help my pain at all, and I was still shooting up. So were all my other friends that was on it. Personally I believe the only way I’d ever be able to stay clean, with no cravings, and be able to function like an upstanding citizen is to be in a methadone maintence program. I have been fighting this addiction for over 20 years, the sad part is the Dr.’s will not listen to anything you say or believe it bc they label you as a lying, low-life, no good for nothing junkie. So everything that comes out of your mouth is a lie. Which is discrimination. BUT PLEASE NOTE SUBOXONE IS NO DIFFERENT THAN ANY OTHER DRUG, YOU CAN SHOOT IT FOR SURE AND GET HIGH……JUST FOOD FOR THOUGHT

  28. Ok, lets clear some stuff up. I have been on subutex for about 7 years now. I take 2mg subutex 3-4 times a day for back and knee pain. Buprenorphine will most definitely help with pain. They have been prescribing it in Europe for a long time in the form of Buprenex.
    Last year I had to have a tooth extraction. They put me under with fentanyl and Versed. It knocked me out and I didn’t feel a thing. Afterwards I sucked it up and just took ibuprofen for the pain.
    Next year I have to have my knee replaced. Am i concerned about my subutex when it comes to surgery, sure, but education is the best way to go.
    I will be in close contact with my pain management doctor who will consult with the surgeons. I have already indicated that I am aware of the intense pain immediately following knee surgery and I am a big puss when it comes to pain. They have assured me they will adequately manage the pain.
    I will probably stop my subutex 3 days prior to surgery so enough of it is clear so it won’t interfere with the fentanyl or dilaudid, or whatever they decided to give me for pain. When I am adequately recovered from my knee surgery I will probably resume taking subutex that i have been taking for my back pain.
    Subutex is a life saver. It is a medicine that does not get me high and allows me to continue to work with fear of being intoxicated.

  29. Hi Jackie I just started subutext 12 mg a day starting yeste day. I was on 100-150 mg of oxy a day to feel normal I doubt I could ever taper them but is the subutext going to be harder to get off or worst wd. I just want my life back after 5 yrs of opiate abuse.

  30. For everyone that is thinking about suboxin, PLEASE PLEASE DONT DO IT. I was on norco for 10 yrs and I got tired of chasing a high. So I rent to a doc that put me on suboxin. He kept me on it for 14months. OMG!!!! It was the worst thing I had ever done. The withdraws were horrible and it was extremely expensive. I ached so bad I wanted to die. I vomited so much. If you are strong enough taper ur self off the pain pills ur self. If you ever got hurt or needed surgery and HAD to have pain Meds then forget it cuz it will not work cuz of the buprenorphine.
    Please please please hear what I am telling you.
    And I am telling you it takes 3 months to get it completely out of you system.
    I will check back in a few days and see if anyone wants to talk on the phone or via email.

  31. Hello I’m Matt l was addicted to tramadol 50mg 20 pills a day threw the day, l was a nervus reck l got help with a clinic in nottingham john storer clinic fantastic people a lady nurse there saved my life and put me on subs 4mg to start with up then to 8mg and eyebrow down to 6mg after 7 months then down to 4mg in October and towards the end of this month l start to pick up as I’ve been supervised every day the problems only are some chemists look down there nose at you just goes to show there’s a lot of negative people out there anyhow it worked for me just push threw l no it easy said then done ….. All the best to all of you

  32. Hi my wife takes vics and percs but want to quit she been on them for 10 years..she been on dialysis for 9 years and just had a kidney transplant. We desperately need to know if suboxone, subutex,or buprenophine is kidney friendly or just continue doing vics ,percs.whats her best bet?terrible withdrawals.

    1. Hi Jamea. Please consult your wife’s doctor and ask about his/her professional advise before determining the best course of treatment for her. I wish her a fast recovery.

  33. i have done 250mg detox off methadone for 35 days still ache stiff went to high point to try sub ozone cause clinic took longer. I had. Help I went from The moment I was released from court to high point put on 4subs. Daily2 am 2 later in day I felt awesome I missed my appointment was my biggest mistake. Went back to meth was on 165mg last year want off I’m on46mg I have clonodin trmadol Trazadone to help. Any other helpful hints I really need to be home Hate waking at500am. For ride don’t help my arthritis Help. Anyone I’m 53.

    1. Hello Marianne. I’d suggest a clinical detox again. You will be safer if monitored 24/7 with professional medical staff at your disposal to help lower the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms.

  34. Greg… One thing you need to know is Suboxone doesn’t take away any pain, so if that’s your problem I’d say stick to the oxy, or maybe try ms contin.

  35. This is ALL nonsense!! Been taking Subutex for almost 10 years now and I assure you it gets you very high, especially if snorted. And buprenorphine does not keep one from getting high on other opioids! Naloxone, which is not in Subutex but is in Suboxone is the drug which conter effects the effects of narcotics. I’ve taken every thing from oxycontin, morphine, diladid, heroin, hydrocodone, fentanol… And I still prefer the high of Subutex. And it will NOT show up on any 5 to 9 panel drug screen. Passes every test I’ve ever taken for probation. Parole, job UA’s…Subutex has kept me off of hard narcotics for a long time now and I don’t know where I’d be with out it.If you aren’t getting high then you’re doing something wrong or need a higher dose, though 8 mg should be enough for anyone. I’ve given my friend a sliver that was probably an eighth of a quarter and he was high for hours and said it was too much, so be careful how you use it.

  36. Hi maryi really need your advice, I was on suboxon for one yr, while I was on it another doc ordered a colonoscopity, When I arrived at my appt they asked me what meds I was on and I told them I was on suboxon, they canceled my test cuz they said the twilight sedation won’t work. I have been off subs. Now. 1 month. Do you think I can get that test now and have the twilight sedation work or should I wait? I also want to know if it is the buprenorphine Or the opiate that blocked the twilight sedation Thank you

  37. Hello Greg. You are in a unique medical condition. I don’t know your medical history…and it would be irresponsable for me to give you an over-the-internet advise. I’d say it’s best to see your doctor and explain that you want off the oxycodone. Maybe discuss the possibilities for starting suboxone…

  38. in your opinion what would be better to take oxycodone or suboxone,at this point I am taking 4 -30 milligram oxycodone a day , down from 7 a day , but cutting down any further seems impossible, my r.l.s. is unbearable, and insomnia is incredible, I only sleep when I am totally exhausted, I have a long list of health issues going back 25 yrs, with 7 radical surgeries, I can live with the pain but I can not continue on with the oxys, so my question is,which one in your opinion only , if you were me , which one would be better, not that either one is good.I don’t want to trade one for the other but to me the suboxone may be worth a shot ????

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