Suboxone is a prescription narcotic medication combination that is used in the treatment of opioid and opiate drug dependence and addiction. Suboxone contains buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is a lower strength opioid analgesic that has less potential for abuse and overdose than other narcotics, so is used to reduce or alleviate symptoms of withdrawal from more dangerous narcotics. Naloxone block opiate effects such as euphoria and is also effective in treating symptoms of narcotic overdose. Although the risk is low when compared to other opiates and opioids, because Suboxone containes narcotic ingredients, there is still a risk of abuse or addiction to this drug.
Aka – Street Names
The most common street name for Suboxone is simply a shortening of the name to “subs”. However, other references to this drug include sobos, bupe, and saboxin. Other common words are also used to refer to this drug and may include oranges, boxes, stops, and stop signs. Depending on the region, there may also be other street names or variations used when referring to Suboxone.
What Is this Drug’s Federal Classification?
Suboxone is a Schedule III Controlled Substance. This means that the drug actually has some medically accepted treatment options. There is a low to moderate risk of developing a physical dependence to this drug. However, there is also a high risk of psychological dependence to this drug, making abuse, dependence, or addiction likely to occur in certain individuals. Use of Schedule III drugs should be monitored closely by a physician.
What Does Suboxone Look Like?
Suboxone can be found in tablet or film form. The film is a small, flat rectangle shape that is slightly shorter than a paper clip, while the tablet is a small hexagon shape that varies in size depending on the dosage. Both are an orangish or peach color. Both the film and the tablet are marked with the letter “N” and a number 2 or a number 8. On the reverse side of the tablets is a cross like symbol that resembles a sword.
How Is It Used?
Suboxone is meant to be taken sublingually, meaning it is to be placed under the tongue until it dissolves. Although it may take several minutes for the drug to dissolve completely, effects are quick acting as the drug enter the blood stream directly without having to pass through the digestive system. Whether taken as prescribed by a physician or for abusive or recreational purposes, Suboxone gives the quickest effects to users when dissolved under the tongue.
The Risks of Taking Suboxone
When taking this drug as prescribed to treat an opiate or opioid addiction, there is always the risk of becoming dependent on this drug instead. Suboxone may be dangerous to take for those who have certain other health issues or conditions. It is especially important to notify the prescribing physician if an individual has any health problems, which may include any of the following:
- Breathing disorders
- Difficulty with urination
- Prostate problems
- Diseases of the kidneys, liver, gallbladder, or thyroid
- Any past or present mental illness
- History of seizures or head trauma
Use of this medication by those who are less than 18 years of age can be fatal.
How Does Suboxone Affect the Mind?
As with any other opiate or opioid drug, the use of Suboxone can lead to a sense of euphoria and relaxation. This drug attaches itself to special receptors in the brain that affect mood and feelings of well being. Natural neurotransmitter production in the brain is reduced as Suboxone takes the place of these chemicals, leading to a need for more of the drug. In certain individuals, this can lead to a dependence on and addiction to the drug.
How Does Suboxone Affect the Body?
As with all narcotics, this drug has a sedative effect on the central nervous system. This can lead to a decrease in heart rate and respiration. Other affects on the body may include:
- Gastrointestinal disturbances
- Numbness or tingling in the body
- Dizziness or headache
- Cramping and muscle pain
What Are the Overdose Symptoms and Effects of Suboxone?
As with any medication, it is possible to take too much Suboxone which can lead to an overdose. Overdose symptoms can become fatal and may include such symptoms as:
- Trouble breathing
- Decreased or lack of breathing
- Extreme drowsiness
- Loss of consciousness
What Are the Short Term Effects?
Short term effects of using Suboxone are decreased pain, feelings of euphoria, relief from withdrawal symptoms from quitting other opiate or opioid drugs, slower response times, and depression of the central nervous system.
What Are the Long Term Effects?
Long term effects of using this medication may involve insomnia, emotional disturbances, increased risk of dependence or addiction, increased tolerance leading to needing more of the drug to create the same effect, constipation, and liver problems. There is also an increased risk of developing withdrawal symptoms when the drug is discontinued or the dosage is reduced.
There are some facts concerning Suboxone that might help an individual determine if using this drug to overcome addiction is the right choice.
- Suboxone is more effective than methadone in overcoming addiction
- This drug is more effective than placebo or quitting cold turkey
- Best results are obtained with proper medical supervision
- Long term use can lead to health problems affecting almost any are of the body
- Suboxone is not to be used to treat alcohol addiction