Suboxone and Methadone

One of the most controversial topics amongst members of every recovery community is the safe use of Suboxone and/or methadone. In many instances, those that are new to recovery for opioid addiction will be put on a medicinal treatment plan – meaning they will be prescribed a medication that will help to curb cravings until they are able to stand on their own two feet without a medicinal aide.

Methadone and Suboxone can both be habit-forming. Many opioid addicts will develop new substance dependencies, abusing the prescriptions they were given by a medical professional. While methadone treats opioid addiction and chronic pain, suboxone only treats opioid addiction. Methadone comes in several forms: an oral concentrate, solution, or tablet, an injectable solution, or a tablet that must be dissolved in liquid before it is consumed. Suboxone is a brand-name, derived from buprenorphine. It comes as an oral film, meant to be taken sublingually.

Suboxone and Methadone

Can You Get High Off Suboxone?

In short, yes – it is possible to get ‘high’ off of these two medications. The American Addiction Center recently published an article written by Marisa Crane, BS, suggesting that those struggling with active addiction to heroin tend to use buprenorphine (suboxone) in-between doses to prevent symptoms of withdrawal. She notes that suboxone is predominantly used for this purpose – not to get high.

However, those who are newly sober and struggling to maintain their recovery are likely to abuse suboxone – especially when it is prescribed by a doctor or an addiction specialist. The medication still produces a euphoric effect, though it is not nearly as intense as heroin. While it will be less intense, it may last longer.

Because of this, newly sober heroin addicts may be triggered, and attempt to get ‘higher’ by using suboxone in greater amounts. There have been many reported overdose-related deaths directly to suboxone overuse. Suboxone should only be used in conjunction with other treatment modalities (such as therapy, counseling, and 12-step meeting attendance), and only for a short period of time. It is not meant to be a long-term solution to opioid addiction.

While primary addiction to suboxone is somewhat rare, it is believed that suboxone use is especially common amongst inmates or other opioid-addicted individuals that don’t have immediate access to heroin.

Can You Get High Off Methadone?

Methadone, a synthetic opioid that is sometimes prescribed for pain and sometimes prescribed to keep newly sober addicts from relapsing, has a much higher rate of abuse than suboxone. However, because rates of abuse were so high, methadone began to be regulated very, very closely. Nowadays, there are entire methadone clinics – those who are prescribed methadone must go to the clinic daily in order for the drug to be administered. While this has cut down on abuse rates, there are still many individuals that use methadone other than as prescribed. Additionally, those that are using the drug to prevent relapse on heroin are at a far greater risk of abuse, seeing as they already have a personal history of substance dependency.

Some side effects of methadone include drowsiness, sluggishness, decreased reaction time, decreased attention span (inability to focus), and decreased blood pressure (amongst others). When taken in extremely high doses, methadone can produce euphoric effects, which some may consider a “high.” However, when taking the drug in such high doses, individuals are at great risk of overdose.

Using Methadone and Suboxone 

Taking two potent medications at one time is rarely ever a good idea, and taking methadone and suboxone simultaneously is no exception. Those who combine the medications are at a greater risk of life-threatening irregular heart rhythm. Taking buprenorphine in conjunction with methadone might actually spurn symptoms of withdrawal. If you have been taking one or both of these medications other than as prescribed, or if you have further questions about pharmaceutical intervention, please feel free to reach out to us at Recreate Life Counseling today. We are standing by to answer any and every question you may have.