Does Subutex get you high?

Possibly. Subutex contains buprenorphine hydrochloride, which can trigger opioid-like euphoria. While difficult to administer buprenorphine, some abusers are able to get high from it. Read more here.

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Subutex can cause euphoric effect when used OTHER THAN PRESCRIBED.

But, how does one get high on Subutex? What is the payoff in terms of euphoric effect vs. risk? Continue reading this text to learn more. If you have any questions at the end of the article, we welcome your questions in the comments section.

Subutex chemistry and use

Subutex is a brand name drug developed for the treatment of narcotic (opiate) addiction. Subutex is usually prescribed to recovering addicts who find it very hard to abstain from their drug of choice and experience strong drug cravings and depression that only compel drug use and relapse. In these individuals, Subutex has been very helpful in managing and addressing drug problems and addiction.

The main active ingredient found in Subutex is buprenorphine. Buprenorphine is a medication that prevents opiate withdrawal symptoms and addresses drug craving. But, it also has a ceiling, which means that the drug simply doesn’t work in doses of more than 30mg, thus decreasing chances of possible overdose.

How does Subutex work in the brain?

In the brain, buprenorphine molecules found in Subutex are attached to opioid receptors, which get activated whenever any opioid or opiate substance is administered. But, after long-term opiate drug abuse, the brain needs ever increasing mounts of the drug just to feel normal again. That’s why Subutex is an excellent recovery tool for many opioid addicts. What does it do?

Basically, buprenorphine mimics the effect of opiates and keeps people from experiencing physical withdrawal. As a partial opiate agonist, buprenorphine binds to the opiate receptors and blocks them, maintaining a stable level in the body throughout the whole day. This means no diarrhea, no vomiting, no aches or pains, no sleeplessness, no loss of appetite, and no skipping work or house responsibilities. Furthermore, buprenorphine’s long duration of action helps stretch out effects over time. By working in such a way, Subutex can decrease the chances of relapse in patients and provides them the time to fully commit to their recovery process.

Subutex and euphoria

The euphoria triggered by Subutex is much milder compared to regular opiates.  those most at risk euphoric effect are people who are opiate-naive, people who do not have any opiates or opioids in their system. Further, euphoria may be produced on Subutex if the medication is abused or prepared in ways OTHER THAN PRESCRIBED.

One interesting thing about Subutex is that it has a ceiling effect, and after a person administers a certain amount of the drug, taking more of it won’t enhance the effects. And while the binding affinity of Subutex (buprenorphine) and it’s long half-life may be attractive to some, opiate drugs users who have built up tolerance to opiates won’t get any euphoric effects from Subutex. The medication will prevent withdrawal and lower or completely stop drug cravings.

Is Subutex addictive?

When taken sublingually and as directed, Subutex carries a very low risk of abuse and addiction compared to full opioid agonists. Chances for Subutex addiction are increased when people inject it to speed up the onset time and increase the euphoria buprenorphine can produce. This is a dangerous and illegal activity, since the use of any medication in a quantity or mode of administration other than prescribed is considered drug abuse. Subutex is intended to be taken sublingually only.

Further, Subutex is rated as a Schedule III drug by the DEA because it contains buprenorphine. Still, physical dependence on this medication is possible. So, even though the drug is not really addictive, people who are on buprenorphine maintenance therapy may begin to depend on it if they are afraid to face withdrawal symptoms or are just too scared to live a substance-free life.

If you are abusing Subutex recreationally and to get high…you may be facing a risk of Subutex addiction. But, no need to worry because help is available. In fact, there are many rehab options and treatment programs for Subutex addiction available to help you get sober.

Mixing Subutex with other substances

People tend to mix other substances with Subutex to enhance its effects, often times unaware of the major risks such as respiratory suppression or even death. It is common for people who abuse Subutex to also take benzodiazepines or alcohol. These substances, when mixed can slow breathing to dangerously low levels and in many cases the outcome can be fatal.

Patients who are prescribed other medications should notify their health care providers for all medications they are using. Although this is not a complete list of possible drug interactions, be especially cautious not to mix Subutex with the following medications:

  • azole antifungals (ketoconazole, Nizoral)
  • HIV protease inhibitors (ritonavir, Norvir)
  • macrolide antibiotics (erythromycin, Erythrocin, E-Mycin, EryPed, Ery-Tab)
  • benzodiazepines (diazepam, valium, lorazepam)
  • narcotic pain medicines (codeine)
  • cimetidine
  • phenothiazines
  • sodium oxybate (GHB)

Questions about getting high on Subutex

Subutex is a drug created to help addicts cope with cravings and withdrawal symptoms when they enter addiction treatment. For people who need it, Subutex is an important segment of the recovery process. Note here that it is important to take Subutex AT THE SAME TIME THAT YOU SEEK proper psychological therapy, cognitive-behavioral treatment, adequate support and education, and make lifestyle changes.

For any questions or concerns, please contact us through the comments section below. We try to respond to legitimate questions personally and promptly. You can also share your thoughts or personal experiences with Subutex use to help, support or inspire others.

Reference Sources: FDA: Subutex and Suboxone Q&A
FDA: Patient Information Leaflet-Suboxone and Subutex
NCBI: Drug Interactions of Clinical Importance among the Opioids, Methadone and Buprenorphine, and other Frequently Prescribed Medications: A Review
SAMHSA: About buprenorphine therapy
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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