Subutex is a somewhat unusual drug in that it’s a partial opioid antagonist. What this means is that it weakly interacts with the opioid receptors in the brain, but it’s nowhere near as powerful as methadone, heroin or morphine. Consequently, it’s one of the drugs of choice when helping people to detox from opioids.
It also has a ceiling; beyond about 32 mg, the drug simply doesn’t work. While a 20 mg dose of heroin will have a more intense feeling than a 5 mg dose, an 80 mg dose of Subutex won’t feel much different than a 40 mg dose. It’s currently available as a tablet that dissolves under the tongue.
Signs and Symptoms of Subutex Abuse
Because of its limited method of action, Subutex is difficult to actually abuse. However, it’s used to get off other drugs, such as heroin and fentanyl, which can certainly be abused. Most opiates and opioids have similar effects, which are caused by the action on the brain’s opioid receptors. Consequently, buprenorphine abuse, while rare, can happen.
The physical signs of abuse, as with any type of opiate or opioid, could involve mood swings, changes in personality, irritability, vomiting, diarrhea, changes in sleeping patterns or insomnia. Again, changes in interests are common. The addict might not want to have sex, and they might also reject activities that were formerly of interest. Their circle of friends might change dramatically, and they might have difficulties with money.
Unfortunately, all of these signs could be something else, so your best bet is to talk to your loved one or to be brutally honest with yourself. When drug abuse spirals out of control, it affects everyone around that person, especially family and coworkers. That’s when you might need to consider Subutex rehab, particularly if you have an issue with other opioids.
Effects and Side Effects of Subutex Abuse
Of course, if you’re taking buprenorphine when you shouldn’t be, that is classified as abuse. The ceiling effect of buprenorphine prevents fatalities due to respiratory depression if it’s used on its own, but it is possible to accidentally take a fatal overdose when you’re taking this potent drug with benzodiazepines. As both end up acting on the central nervous system in a similar way, fatal respiratory depression can result — basically, you stop breathing and your heart stops beating. You also shouldn’t take Subutex with alcohol or over-the-counter antidepressants, like St John’s wort.
While physical health effects are common with Subutex addiction, the financial effects of Subutex use can also be serious. Subutex is not a cheap drug, and the financial cost of maintaining an addiction can be unrealistic for many. Consequently, you might find yourself doing things you’d never imagined doing, whether it’s raiding a pharmacy for the drug, lying on health forms, or stealing from your friends and family to pay for the drug.
The legal ramifications of drug abuse are high as well. If you get caught driving while high on buprenorphine, you could face a huge fine and potentially lose your license. You could even face time in jail and have a criminal record. If you cause an accident, you could potentially hurt or kill someone on the road.
Subutex Abuse Rehab Treatment
Subutex abuse treatment is usually the answer to an abuse problem involving opiates or opioids. While Subutex is rarely abused, other opioids often are, and it’s important that you get help as soon as possible if you are struggling with drug abuse or addiction.
Generally, treatment for any opioid dependence is divided up into three categories of care: detox, counseling and aftercare. Detox ensures you withdraw from the drug safely, and in many cases, it involves a gradual reduction of the substance involved. In the case of Subutex, it usually involves a reduction from 32 mg to 2 mg in 3 mg or 4 mg increments before the user is drug-free. To help a Subutex addict, call our 24/7 Subutex helpline for more information.
Subutex Facts and Statistics
Only about one in four people are able to quit opiates and opioids cold turkey, and for long-term addicts, this figure is even lower. Substitute drugs like buprenorphine increase the number of people actually getting off opioids. While a number of places decry the use of opiates to get off other opiates, it remains the most effective method of getting clean and sober.
Buprenorphine needs to be handled carefully. If it’s taken too soon after the last dose of another opioid, it may substitute that opioid in the brain without providing relief. What this means is that the user experiences sudden and rapid withdrawal symptoms.
Subutex Abuse by Teens
Subutex abuse doesn’t often happen in teens, although it may be subscribed for OxyContin or Vicodin addiction. It may show up in a specialized nine-panel drug test, so if your teen needs to get a job, they should be aware of the possibility. It can also cause false positives for methadone or even marijuana. In general, however, there are much easier drugs for teens to get than buprenorphine.