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Signs and Symptoms of Suboxone Abuse

Suboxone is a synthetic opioid made by combining two different drugs – buprenorphine and naloxone. Like methadone, Suboxone is a medication-assisted treatment that’s prescribed to help people overcome addiction to other opioid drugs, such as heroin and morphine. The drug works by preventing withdrawal symptoms and by lessening the euphoric effects of opioids, making it easier for people who are addicted to get clean.

Although Suboxone is very effective therapeutically, the drug is still dependent-forming and addictive, so there is a potential for abuse, especially among people who don’t currently have an opioid addiction. The drug also produces mild feelings of euphoria, meaning there’s a potential for abuse and addiction for anybody who takes it.

Suboxone isn’t as strictly controlled as other drugs, like methadone, meaning it’s more accessible to people who don’t have a prescription. People who do abuse Suboxone can do so in a variety of ways, including by taking the drug without a prescription, by taking larger doses than what’s been prescribed, by crushing the drug and injecting it intravenously, or by combining it with other drugs, such as cannabis, opioids, and alcohol.

In 2012, doctors in America wrote 3 million prescriptions for drugs that contain buprenorphine, like Suboxone, and in the previous year, there were more than 21,000 visits to emergency rooms around the country because of nonmedical buprenorphine use.


There are many physical symptoms of Suboxone abuse that people can watch for to determine if there’s an issue. For instance, if a person is abusing Suboxone by crushing the pills and injecting them, there might be needles lying about the house. Other physical signs of Suboxone abuse include:

  • Track marks on the arms
  • Infections or bruising around injection sites
  • Sudden weight gain or loss
  • Other drug paraphernalia around the house
  • Getting sick more frequently
  • Contracting a bloodborne (such as HIV or hepatitis) illness from needle-sharing
  • Constricted or pinpoint pupils


Beyond the physical signs of Suboxone abuse, there are also behavioral changes that are very noticeable in people who are abusing or addicted to drugs. For example, because a person becomes obsessed with the drug of abuse, he or she may neglect family, work, and social responsibilities because of being preoccupied with getting high. There are also many other behavioral and psychological Suboxone abuse signs and symptoms, including:

  • Missing work or school, or being late frequently
  • Spending a lot of money on drugs or getting into financial trouble
  • Stealing or borrowing money or valuables
  • Neglecting hygiene, personal appearance, and health
  • Visiting multiple doctors to obtain more Suboxone prescriptions
  • Getting in trouble with the law
  • Social isolation or changing friend circles
  • No longer caring about hobbies and passions
  • Stealing drugs from medicine cabinets
  • Lying, keeping secrets, and being defensive about behavior and actions


Suboxone is a combination of two different drugs, and each of these drugs has its own list of potential side effects. The first component of Suboxone is buprenorphine, which is a synthetic drug that produces effects similar to other opioids, such as euphoria, and this helps to mitigate the symptoms of withdrawal. The other component is naloxone, and this drug blocks the effects of opioid drugs, which is why Suboxone can be effective at reducing opioid use. Together, these drugs have a number of side effects, including:

  • Muscle aches
  • Fever
  • Cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Sweating
  • Drowsiness
  • Slurred speech
  • Lack of coordination
  • Depression
  • Respiratory depression
  • Mood swings


As with all drugs, Suboxone has a number of both short-term and long-term effects that can impact a person’s life, body, and brain. The most common short-term effects that people experience include:

  • Mild euphoria that lasts for about eight hours
  • Relaxation
  • Decreased stress levels
  • Sense of ease and calm

The long-term effects associated with Suboxone abuse, and these are very similar to the effects a person will experience during a Suboxone withdrawal. After prolonged use, some of the most common long-term Suboxone abuse signs include:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Chronic constipation
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Low tolerance for pain
  • Heart palpitations
  • Increased risk of dependence and addiction
  • Increased risk of overdose

If you or a loved one is struggling with a Suboxone addiction, call Futures of Palm Beach today to get the help you need.

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