Suboxone is the brand name of a prescription medication that is used to treat opioid use disorder. It contains two ingredients – buprenorphine which is an opioid and naloxone which is an opioid antagonist. The combined effect of these two drugs helps reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings in people who have developed an addiction to opioid drugs. Suboxone is used during recovery from addiction to opioids such as heroin, fentanyl, and prescription pain medications like oxycodone and hydrocodone (Oxycontin, Vicodin, Percocet).

However, since one of the ingredients in Suboxone, buprenorphine, is an opioid, Suboxone itself carries a risk of addiction, although this risk is less than the risk of addiction to other opioids. The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has classified Suboxone as a Schedule III substance, indicating that its potential for misuse/addiction is less than Schedule I drugs like heroin and Schedule II drugs like fentanyl, oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, and codeine. However, misuse of Suboxone can lead to moderate physical dependence and/or severe psychological dependence. 1 Selling or giving away Suboxone is against the law.

It is worth noting that most people who use Suboxone do not do it to obtain a “high.” That’s because the opioid ingredient in Suboxone, buprenorphine, has a ceiling effect, meaning larger doses don’t make it more powerful. Rather, people who use Suboxone often have an addiction to another opioid drug. They use Suboxone to self-medicate and relieve opioid withdrawal symptoms. It can be extremely dangerous to use illegal Suboxone obtained from street dealers. This medication should only be used during a medically-supervised opioid addiction treatment program.

If you or someone you love is misusing Suboxone, calling a Suboxone hotline can be your first step towards recovery.

What is a Suboxone Hotline?

A Suboxone hotline is a toll-free telephone number that provides free information to individuals struggling with Suboxone use and addiction. Calls do not incur charges and the information is provided free of cost. You do not need health insurance to call a Suboxone helpline.

Your call is completely private and confidential. You will not get into trouble with law enforcement for asking questions about Suboxone addiction.

Helplines typically operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can call any time of day or night and receive advice, support, and guidance about Suboxone use or addiction. The helpline can help you identify addiction treatment programs nearby. However, you are under no compulsion to start treatment after calling – that decision is completely yours.

A helpline is like having a knowledgeable, helpful, and non-judgmental friend with whom you can discuss your concerns. Whether or not you’re ready to enter rehab for Suboxone addiction, calling a hotline can help you organize your thoughts and decide on your next steps.

If you or a loved one has developed Suboxone addiction, call the National Drug Helpline on 1-844-289-0879.

Questions to Ask a Suboxone Helpline

It can be confusing, overwhelming, and downright frightening to reach out for help for drug addiction. If you’re not sure what to say, here are some of the most common questions people ask when they call:

  • What are the signs and symptoms of Suboxone addiction?
  • How can I tell if a loved one is misusing Suboxone?
  • Can I overdose on Suboxone?
  • Are there any Suboxone rehabs near me?
  • Will insurance cover the cost of Suboxone addiction treatment?
  • What can I do to prevent Suboxone addiction?

Rest assured that the advisors are compassionate and non-judgmental. You can ask whatever questions are on your mind without fear of disapproval.

Suboxone Hotlines

A Suboxone hotline is not equipped to deal with emergencies. If you are in a life-threatening situation, such as a drug overdose, please call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. In non-emergency situations, hotlines can provide information and advice.

National Drug Helpline 1-844-289-0879

The National Drug Helpline is a free, confidential, helpline that operates 24 hours a day, all 7 days of the week. Individuals and families struggling with Suboxone addiction can call the National Drug Helpline for information and access to resources in the community.

SAMHSA 1-800-662-HELP (4357)          

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is a US government organization that operates a free 24/7 helpline in English and Spanish. You can access a wide range of resources and nationwide referral services by calling the SAMHSA hotline.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

The National Suicide Prevention hotline is a toll-free number for people in a mental health crisis who are experiencing suicidal thoughts.

National Poison Control 1-800-222-1222

The United States Poison Control helpline is a toll-free telephone number where you can get information on Suboxone overdose.

Suboxone Risks and Precautions

Suboxone should only be taken under medical supervision with a doctor’s prescription. Misuse of Suboxone can cause life-threatening breathing problems, overdose, and death. Some drug users shoot up (inject) Suboxone. This is a dangerous practice and can lead to serious health problems, infections, and opioid withdrawal symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, anxiety, cramps, and drug cravings.

Suboxone should not be used “as-needed” to relieve opioid withdrawal symptoms. The use of Suboxone by individuals who are not opioid-dependent can result in death.2 Suboxone can interact with other medicines such as pain pills, sleeping pills, antihistamines, antidepressants, and anxiety medications. Therefore, it’s important to tell the prescribing physician about all the other medications you are on. Do not substitute Suboxone for other medications that contain buprenorphine as they may contain different amounts of the active ingredients.

Always keep Suboxone out of reach of children. Accidental consumption of Suboxone by a child is an emergency and can lead to death. If you have been prescribed Suboxone, do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you have observed how the medication affects you. Do not drink alcohol while on Suboxone, as this can lead to loss of consciousness and death.

Suboxone Side Effects

Suboxone can cause various side effects, such as:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Sweating
  • Constipation
  • Mouth numbness
  • Swollen, painful tongue
  • Lightheadedness
  • Palpitations
  • Insomnia
  • Poor attention span
  • Blurred vision
  • Back pain
  • Dizziness
  • Sleepiness
  • Fainting

Suboxone can also cause the following serious, potentially fatal side effects:

  • Slowed breathing
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Liver problems
  • Dependence (addiction)
  • Allergic reaction (hives, rash, facial swelling, wheezing, low blood pressure)
  • Opioid withdrawal symptoms (shaking, sweating, vomiting, diarrhea, watery eyes, runny nose, muscle aches, goosebumps)
  • Coma
  • Death

If you or someone you love is misusing or addicted to Suboxone, it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible. Calling a helpline is a good first step towards reducing your risk of health complications.

Cost of Suboxone Addiction Treatment

The cost of treatment for Suboxone addiction depends on various factors, such as the location of the rehab facility, the severity of the addiction, and the presence of co-occurring mental illness. In general, you can expect to pay approximately:

$250 to $800 per day for medically-supervised detoxification

$3,000 to $10,000 for up to 4 weeks of intensive outpatient treatment

$1,400 to $10,000 for up to 12 weeks of outpatient rehab

$5,000 to $80,000+ for residential addiction treatment

If you have health insurance, your policy will likely cover Suboxone addiction at least partially. You can find out more about the options available under your insurance plan by calling the National Drug Helpline on 1-844-289-0879.

Can I Call a Suboxone Hotline for a Loved One?

Yes, you can call a Suboxone helpline for yourself or a friend or family member. If someone you love is suspected or confirmed to be addicted to Suboxone, the National Drug Helpline on 1-844-289-0879 can provide support and guidance and help you identify treatment options in your area.

What Questions Do Suboxone Hotline Operators Ask?

There is a stigma attached to drug addiction of any type. For this reason, many people hesitate to discuss their Suboxone problems with family members and friends. It can be nerve-wracking to call a Suboxone hotline for the first time. However, the trained advisors who will answer your call are helpful, compassionate, and non-judgmental. If you are nervous about calling, it helps to be prepared with the answers to the most common questions you may be asked:

  • How long have you been using Suboxone?
  • How often do you use Suboxone?
  • Are your loved ones aware of your Suboxone addiction?
  • Do you have any co-occurring health problems or mental illnesses?
  • Have you received treatment for drug addiction before?
  • Are you using any other drugs besides Suboxone?
  • Are you ready to start Suboxone addiction treatment?

Suboxone is an effective medication for individuals struggling with opioid addiction. However, unsupervised use of Suboxone can lead to dangerous health complications, even death. If you or someone you love has developed an addiction to Suboxone, calling a hotline can help you gain access to the resources and treatment you need to get better.

Last updated: November 13, 2020

About the author

Dr. Jennifer Merrill
Dr. Jennifer Merrill

Dr. Jennifer Merrill is an Associate Professor in the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences at Brown University. She received her PhD in 2012 from the University at Buffalo, and is a licensed clinical psychologist in Rhode Island (Credential ID: PS01479).

Dr. Merrill has published over 70 peer-reviewed articles in journals such as Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, Addictive Behaviors and Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. Her published work includes 'Drinking over the lifespan: Focus on college ages' and 'Event-level correlates of drinking events characterized by alcohol-induced blackouts'.

References

  1. Drug Enforcement Administration. Controlled Substance Schedules. Available online. Accessed on September 29, 2020. https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/schedules/
  2. Suboxone.com. Product information. Available online. Accessed on September 29, 2020. https://www.suboxone.com/