Is shooting up Suboxone films and tablets possible? Can you inject Suboxone?
There are people who are very adept at shooting up various pills that contain controlled drugs. They know all about banging roxys, smashing dillies, and slamming biscuits. Crushing and liquefying a pill is second nature. Even a Suboxone film can be melted into a liquid solution for injecting.
While there are other ways to abuse opioids, including buprenorphine, such as smoking Suboxone and even boofing Suboxone (using it rectally), people who inject their drugs tend to stick to injecting. So, while there is no doubt that injecting Suboxone is possible, why would anyone want to do it?
Can Suboxone get you high by shooting up the tablet of film? Can you shoot Suboxone recreationally?
While there are authority figures who would be quick to say that getting high from Suboxone is definitely possible, we should take a closer look at this question. First, studies have demonstrated that most Suboxone and Subutex diverted for sale on the streets gets used for detoxing from opioids.
They say that more than 90% of Suboxone on the streets gets used for opioid addiction treatment by people who want to quit heroin, fentanyl, or other opioids, but they do not want to go to a doctor. Still, this indicates that there is still a small percentage of Suboxone use on the street that is recreational, for the purpose of getting high.
There is a saying in medical school that when we hear the sound of hoof beats, don’t look for zebras. In most parts of the world, the sound of hoofs on the ground will most likely indicate approaching horses, not zebras.
Most opioid abusers do not shoot up their pills.
The point of the expression is to focus on what is most likely, rather than the rare exception. According to the CDC in their 2016 report on opioid prescribing, most abuse of opioids occurs by users swallowing a pill with water. While they may take too much or take it for the wrong reasons, most opioid abusers do not cross the line of crushing their tablets to snort, shoot up, or smoke.
If we were to use the fact that some people may shoot up Suboxone on the streets to further regulate the drug, it may lead to additional restrictions. Access to life-saving treatment may be denied to people who are far from being at risk for shooting up their treatment medication.
So, is it actually possible to get high, shooting up Suboxone?
First, let us look at what Suboxone is. Suboxone contains two drugs, buprenorphine and naloxone. Naloxone is a potent opioid receptor blocker. It is present in Suboxone purely for the purpose of preventing drug abusers from attempting to shoot up Suboxone. Naloxone is inactive when patients take their Suboxone as directed.
Buprenorphine is an opioid, partial agonist-antagonist. It partially activates the opioid receptor, like a mild opioid, and, it blocks the receptor at the same time. Buprenorphine would not be the first choice for most opioid users to shoot up for the purpose of getting high.
However, it is possible that a drug abuser could get a mild high feeling from using buprenorphine, at least the first time they use it. This would be particularly true for a drug user who does not already use opioids.
Most opioid dependent people who have a high opioid tolerance will not get high from buprenorphine. It will help them to not get sick from opioid withdrawal and it effectively blocks opioid cravings. It works very well for treating opioid addiction and it works very poorly as a drug used for getting high.
Is naloxone effective at blocking IV drug users from shooting Suboxone? What are the naloxone effects of injecting Suboxone?
We should note that naloxone is also available as an injectable and nasal spray overdose reversal drug. It is used every day as a life-saving rescue medication by first responders and civilians who are prepared with a naloxone kit.
Naloxone is an important component of harm reduction in the US. However, here, we discuss naloxone as an abuse deterrent, added to buprenorphine to prevent abuse of Suboxone.
It seems clear that naloxone, the opioid blocker, would cancel out the effects of buprenorphine if a drug user were to shoot up their Suboxone film or tablet. That’s why naloxone is in Suboxone, to deter people from injecting it into a vein.
Yet, the truth is not so simple. Naloxone is very short-acting. Buprenorphine is long-acting. This means that the rare IV abuser of Suboxone who is looking to get a mild high from buprenorphine would, in fact, get sick from the naloxone when they shoot up their Suboxone.
But, after a short time, about 30 minutes, the effects of naloxone will wear off, leaving buprenorphine to work over the next 30 hours or so. Would an IV drug abuser be willing to suffer with precipitated withdrawal from naloxone for 30 minutes? If someone is willing to put a needle in their own arm, you can imagine that they are willing to put up with temporary pain to get to a feeling of euphoria.
Will the Suboxone shot solve the problem of Suboxone abuse?
For this reason, Indivior, maker of Suboxone, has promoted the Suboxone shot as being a solution to the issue that drug users are shooting up their Suboxone films and tablets. The shot, named Sublocade, is injected by the doctor monthly. The patient never gets direct access to their prescribed buprenorphine.
The problem with the reasoning of Indivior’s argument in promoting their new product, Sublocade, is that IV use of Suboxone is not common. Most patients who see a doctor for opioid addiction will take their Suboxone as directed. They want to get better, not try to abuse their treatment medication.
Would it be fair to insist that all Suboxone patients switch to a $1550/month injection because there are possibly a few people out there shooting up Suboxone? While it is convenient that the company that once promoted the importance of adding naloxone to buprenorphine is now in agreement that naloxone is not an effective abuse deterrent, we should make evidence-based decisions, not marketing-based decisions.
Why do people want to know if Suboxone can get you high?
There are people who are always looking for a new and different way to get high. Or, they are looking for ways to get high with what they have. Maybe it is someone who was prescribed Suboxone, but more likely, it is the family member, or neighbor, who stole their Suboxone from the medicine cabinet.
Patients who are prescribed Suboxone are not likely to want to abuse Suboxone. They already know how opioids work, and they know that trying to get high from Suboxone is a waste of time and effort. And, it burns another bridge that can carry them back to safety from the abyss of addiction.
If, you have come across this article, looking for methods for cooking up Suboxone films or tablets and prepping the drug for injection, I recommend that you go no further in your research. Injecting any drug is the most common way of overdosing on that drug.
Can you overdose on Suboxone? What are the dangers of shooting Suboxone.
While Suboxone has a ceiling effect, making it less likely to overdose and go into respiratory depression, it is possible to overdose on Suboxone. It is more likely that you will overdose if you combine Suboxone with other drugs, such as alcohol or benzos. And, shooting up Suboxone makes it more likely that you will overdose.
Additionally, IV drug abuse increases your risk of HIV, hepatitis, blood clots, bruising, collapsed veins, injection site infection, and endocarditis, a deadly heart valve infection. When you inject drugs, your risk of accidental death from drug use skyrockets.
Has there ever been a legal, legitimate way to get IV buprenorphine?
There is a brand name medication named Buprenex that is intended for intravenous or intramuscular use. It is a short acting injectable form of buprenorphine.
Buprenex is intended to be used for pain, though some doctors have used it off label (and probably illegally) in the distant past to help patients detox from opioids. These days, buprenex is not used often, if at all, for pain control, at least in humans.
There is buprenex for cats and buprenex for dogs, used in veterinary hospitals and clinics. Humans are better at following directions, keeping a tablet or film under their tongue while it dissolves. Hence, sublingual dosing turns out to work out better for humans than the short acting injectable buprenorphine.
If you abuse buprenorphine, you could be killing hundreds, or even thousands of people.
When people ask questions, such as “Can you snort ZubSolv?” or “Can Suboxone tablets be crushed?”, you are contributing to a serious problem faced by people addicted to opioids in the US. When there is a perception that buprenorphine medications are being abused, the federal and state governments increase restrictions on medication-assisted treatment.
In some states, there is a concern over rogue doctors prescribing Suboxone in clinics. They believe that Suboxone doctors are fueling the next pill mill epidemic.
Let us be clear, Suboxone doctors are not going to be the cause of any pill mill epidemic or crisis.
Shooting up Suboxone is helping the media tear down MAT.
The fact is that these concerns are overblown, exaggerated by media outlets looking for the next sensational story to justify their existence. Unfortunately, the media influences the public and lawmakers.
Therefore, if you are slamming ZubSolv, banging Bunavail, pinning Probuphine, smashing Subutex, jacking-up Suboxone, or otherwise abusing buprenorphine, you are adding fuel to the fire of media outrage against medication-assisted treatment of opioid addiction with buprenorphine.
While the high you might get from shooting up Suboxone is minimal and fleeting, the damage you may do to people who need help to recover from opioid addiction can be lasting. Suboxone is a life-saving medication and further restrictions may lead to more opioid overdose deaths.
What is the correct way to use Suboxone?
Suboxone is available in a tablet and film. The film is a small, flexible rectangle that comes individually wrapped in foil. Both are sublingual preparations, intended to be dissolved under the tongue.
While Suboxone is sold on the streets, it should only be used under the care of a doctor. One reason to avoid buying it on the street is the risk of getting fake Suboxone. Fake Suboxone is more likely to come in a tablet form, though fake Suboxone films are also possible.
Another reason is that the medication is only part of the process. Medication-assisted treatment involves professional oversight by an experienced doctor as well as appropriate psychotherapy.
What happens when you go to a Suboxone doctor?
When you first go to see a Suboxone doctor for the first time, you will be started with an induction process. This is where your doctor gets you started with your first dose of Suboxone and determines what dosage will work best for you.
After the first visit, if you are new to Suboxone treatment, your doctor will likely want to see you on a weekly basis, or sometimes even more often. It is important to keep track of how you are progressing in treatment.
After a month or so of successful treatment, you can start to go to your doctor monthly in most cases. In fact, you may be able to see your doctor by telemedicine video visits. Telehealth is now becoming the standard of care for Suboxone clinics in the midst of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Most patients do very well and start to feel better in a short time. For some patients, the early transitional period can be difficult, but they will typically get past it and feel better within the first few weeks.
How long should I take Suboxone?
The time period that you will take Suboxone for depends on individual factors. You and your doctor will determine when the best time is for you to start tapering and reducing Suboxone. The progress of an MAT plan is determined by both the patient and the doctor.
That being said, most successful treatment courses are for at least 1-2 years. In some cases, longer-term treatment works best.
During the time that you take Suboxone, you will have the opportunity to make changes in your life that support your recovery. You can put old acquaintances aside and make new friends. And, you can work with your therapist on resolving old issues and identifying triggers in your life.
So, before you start thinking about how you can abuse Suboxone, think about how Suboxone could help you or someone close to you who is struggling with opioid addiction. Suboxone is an important life-saving drug that we must treat with respect and protect its status and availability for patients in need.