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Suboxone is a medication typically prescribed as part of a medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program for those recovering from an addiction to heroin or opioid painkillers. When the patient takes the medication as directed, it is not addictive. That being said, some people find ways to abuse Suboxone, since it contains the opioid medication, buprenorphine. Chronic Suboxone abuse can lead to addiction and may require a Suboxone rehab program to help them overcome their problem.

the long-term adverse effects of Suboxone as a result of incorrect prescription and misuse can be serious and even deadly.-Food and Drug AdministrationThe drug buprenorphine, which is sold under the brand name Suboxone, was originally intended as an improvement to methadone and meant to help individuals addicted to opiates minimize their withdrawal symptoms. Although it was originally believed that Suboxone held very little abuse risk, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports that this drug is susceptible to abuse, since it is a partial opioid agonist.1 While safety measures have been put into place, abuse of Suboxone has been reported throughout the United States. If you think that you or someone you know may be addicted to Suboxone, it is important to seek help at a rehab center immediately. According to the FDA, the long-term adverse effects of Suboxone as a result of misuse and abuse can be serious and detrimental to physical and mental health. These risks increase when Suboxone is mixed with other substances, such as alcohol or sedatives. Long-term use of Suboxone may lead to dependence, addiction, and even overdose.1

Inpatient Facilities vs. Outpatient Clinics

Treatment for a Suboxone addiction is available in two different types of treatment environments: inpatient and outpatient. In determining which type of treatment option is best for you or your loved one, it is important to understand that treatment is available around the clock in an inpatient facility. The patient will reside in the inpatient treatment facility while they receive professional, caring treatment for an addiction to Suboxone. You receive a combination of individual therapy, group counseling, family therapy, peer support meetings, and medication, if applicable. Many people benefit from inpatient because they are separated from their old using environment and are able to focus solely on their recovery. This option is appropriate for someone with a severe addiction, a polydrug addiction, a co-occurring mental health disorder, history of complicated withdrawals, history of treatment noncompliance, etc.

Outpatient clinics may provide treatment on a more limited basis. Patients attend scheduled treatment sessions, ranging from a couple hours per week to several hours per day, depending on the intensity of the outpatient program. Patients continue living at home while receiving outpatient treatment. This means that they need a strong and sober support system and reliable transportation to the outpatient facility.

Do I Need a Residential Rehab Facility?

While Suboxone is intended for medical purposes, when use reaches the point that you crave the drug, it has crossed the line from use or abuse to addiction. While it is possible to recover from addiction without entering a Suboxone rehab center, treatment can be helpful. For example, residential rehab facilities provide patients with a number of benefits to help them ease their way through the detoxification and withdrawal process. In addition, Suboxone treatment programs provide a number of other crucial services, including counseling.

Tolerance vs. Suboxone Dependence

Suboxone is used in detox settings to manage withdrawal symptoms and in medication-assisted treatment (MAT), which combines long-term medication management with behavioral therapy.1 If you are taking Suboxone as prescribed, tolerance will not occur. You will likely develop a dependence on the medication, but this is the body's normal adaptation to the presence of a substance. If you take the medication as part of MAT and want to quit taking it, your physician will create a gradual tapering schedule in which your dose is slowly decreased so that you don't experience any withdrawal symptoms. If you abuse Suboxone, dependence is likely to develop much more quickly. Dependence in someone who abuses the drug can contribute to a develop of addiction, as the person develops a problematic cycle of abuse. When this happens, it is imperative that you seek out professional help from a Suboxone rehabilitation center. It is possible to recover from your addiction and begin a new life.

Are Suboxone Rehabs Private and Confidential?

It is imperative that you know that privacy is completely valued in a Suboxone treatment program, and you need not be concerned that your or your family member's privacy will be breached during the course of treatment. There are many Suboxone rehab centers that also provide comfortable, private rooms. Depending upon the type of rehab center you choose, private suites may also be available for your increased privacy and comfort.

90-Day Addiction Rehab Program
Many inpatient rehab programs include 90-day drug rehab options. These three-month rehab centers allow for long-term treatment that can lead to a higher success rate for recovering addicts. Read More

The most important thing is that you receive treatment in the most caring and supportive environment possible to provide you with the best chance for a full and lasting recovery.

How Long Does Inpatient Suboxone Rehabilitation Last?

Many people who are considering treatment for themselves or a loved one often have questions about the duration of treatment. While this is completely understandable, it should also be understood that the length of treatment may vary between individuals. For some people, 30-day treatment at a Suboxone rehab center will be sufficient. In other cases, particularly more severe addictions, a 60-day or 90-day treatment program may be more advisable. Outpatient services are available, but may not provide the same level of comprehensive services as a residential treatment program.

What Happens During Treatment?

When you are considering treatment at a Suboxone rehabilitation center for yourself or someone close to you, it is important to know what to expect. The intake process is the first step in the treatment journey. A mental health or addiction professional conducts a comprehensive evaluation, in which they assess the patient's addiction and mental, physical, and social health. After the patient has been fully assessed during intake, a treatment program will be planned to help them with the detoxification process. Once they achieve a medically stable, substance-free state, they will then receive substance abuse treatment in the form of individual therapy, group counseling, family therapy, support groups, and more. The patient will receive specialized care to assist with their particular needs.

What Happens After?

The prospect of staying sober after treatment may seem daunting for many people, but it is important to know that the Suboxone rehab center will provide patients with the tools they need to remain healthy and sober even after they have completed a residential treatment program and returned home. Once they complete the treatment program, they will continue receiving ongoing support to prevent relapse. Aftercare options include sober living homes, individual therapy, 12-step programs, non-12-step programs, alumni programs, and group counseling.

Are You Ready?

Asking for help is the first step in the treatment journey. According to the FDA, the long-term adverse effects of Suboxone as a result of incorrect prescription and misuse can be serious and even deadly. Long-term use of Suboxone may lead to dependence, addiction, and even overdose.

Additional Information

An intervention can often be a life-changing step for someone addicted to Suboxone. This can form the basis for the next important step of assessment and intake at a qualified Suboxone rehab center. Carefully monitored detox programs can assist patients with their withdrawal from Suboxone. Both residential inpatient and outpatient treatment facilities are available, but many people find that residential centers offer a more comprehensive level of treatment. There are also numerous types of treatment available, including non-spiritual, 12-step or spiritual, holistic, and religious or faith-based treatment options. Tools are also provided to help with sober living after treatment through aftercare services. No matter where you or someone you know may be right now, there is no need to continue down the same path. A Suboxone rehabilitation facility can provide the help you need to break free from the addiction cycle once and for all.

What Do I Need to Get Started?

When you call a helpline or a treatment center's direct line, you’ll want to have some information concerning the addiction and the addicted individual at hand. If you’re calling for yourself, have your insurance card available so you can disclose your policy number and specific plan to the admissions consultant. Then you’ll want to provide them with information concerning what substance you’re addicted to, your typical dose, how long you’ve been abusing the substance or substances, and how severe your addiction is. If you are calling for a loved one, it’ll be helpful to know this as well. If someone has a co-occurring mental health or physical condition, that information should be relayed to the admissions consultant.

Finding a Suboxone Doctor

In order to dispense buprenorphine products, such as Suboxone, doctors must be certified to prescribe buprenorphine. These doctors are:2

• Licensed under their state law
• Registered with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to prescribe a controlled medication
• Not allowed to treat more than 30 patients at a time within the first year of certification
• Qualified by certification and/or training

Fortunately, you don’t have to call individual doctors to see if they can prescribe you Suboxone. SAMHSA has a resource that allows you to search for a doctor by your state, city, or zip code. The results list the physician’s name, office address, and telephone number.

It's Not Too Late to Turn Everything Around

It is truly never too late to turn things around and get the help you need at a Suboxone rehab center. No matter how long you have suffered from an addiction to Suboxone, help is available right now. According to the FDA, the long-term adverse effects of Suboxone as a result of incorrect prescription and misuse can be serious and even deadly. It is for this reason that the agency has issued a black box caveat against fentanyl abuse. Long-term use of Suboxone may lead to tolerance, dependence, occupational hazards, constipation and potentiation.


1.Food and Drug Administration. (n.d.). Highlights of Prescribing Information.
2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2016). Qualify for a Physician Waiver.

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6 thoughts on “Suboxone Abuse: Treating Addiction to Recovery Medication”

  1. lenski

    What are the slang, street names or nicknames for Suboxone?

    1. rehabs.com

      Suboxone is primarily known by two street names or nicknames. They are “bupes” and “subs.”

  2. lenski

    Am I addicted to Suboxone?

    1. rehabs.com

      One of the most telling signs that you or someone you know may be addicted to Suboxone is the presence of withdrawal symptoms when the drug is not taken or a strong craving for the drug. According to the FDA, possible symptoms associated with this drug might include:

      • Headaches
      • Sweating
      • Nausea
      • Cold or flu-like symptoms
      • Mood swings

      As is the case with other opioids, breathing difficulties could also occur.

  3. lenski

    What are the long-term effects of Suboxone abuse?

    1. rehabs.com

      Individuals who abuse Suboxone on a long-term basis may experience digestive problems, irritability and difficulty sleeping.

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