Suboxone is a medication with the potential to reduce symptoms of opiate addiction and withdrawal. With sales of $1.55 billion in 2013, the New York Timescalled Suboxone a “blockbuster” medication that is touted as a safer alternative to methadone in battling opioid addiction.

However, Suboxone has the potential to be abused and create addiction. The reason for its effectiveness is the reason for its potential for addiction. This creates a “double-edged sword” for heroin and opioid addicts looking to repair their lives. In fact, the medication has created its own epidemic that requires its own course of treatment to remedy.

Inside Suboxone

Suboxone is the combination of two different drugs: buprenorphine, which a partial opioid agonist, and naloxone, a pure opioid antagonist.

Buprenorphine’s job is to deliver a very diminished opioid dose to a person recovering from stronger opioid addiction. This provides a way for the patient to be gradually weaned off their pre-existing addiction. It also minimizes the withdrawal symptoms that occur during the recovery process.

The other drug in Suboxone is naloxone, a pure opioid antagonist. This means it reverses the effects of opioid agonists that are already in the patient’s system by intercepting signals that the receptors are sending to the nervous system.

However, naloxone’s action of shutting off opioid receptors and signals in the body can trigger withdrawal symptoms for people who are currently on opioids. This creates effects that range from agitation and irritability to wild mood swings, insomnia, nausea, muscle cramping, and diarrhea. Also, patients who are addicted to full opioid agonists such as heroin run a risk of developing seizures and respiratory failure while on naloxone.

Since naloxone carries too many risks for it to be administered by itself, it is combined with buprenorphine to give clients an easier process of weaning off of stronger narcotics. The result, of course, is Suboxone.

Suboxone’s Success

In Suboxone’s first clinical trial of extended usage to treat opioid addiction, a study by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) of 154 young adults found that Suboxone treatment substantially improved outcomes.

The study’s investigators noted not just “a marked reduction” in opioid use, but other drugs as well. They also found better retention of treatment concepts in patients given Suboxone for rehab.

Five years after that 2008 study, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration reported nearly 10 million prescriptions for Suboxone were filled.

However, Suboxone can sometimes work a little too well. In 2014, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported on a patient who, following an overdose of the opioid painkiller OxyContin, was prescribed Suboxone.

The patient soon developed an addiction, abusing the dosage and even the means by which he was taking the drug. Instead of taking Suboxone orally or letting Suboxone filmstrips dissolve under his tongue, the person was dissolving the filmstrips in water and injecting the liquid into his veins.

Such a method bypasses the digestive system, which would have preserved naloxone’s opioid antagonist properties. Since naloxone, the opioid antagonist, is only activated once it’s in the bloodstream, the person was effectively taking two opioid agonists. He may have been doing this to achieve a quicker relief from his Oxycontin withdrawal symptoms but was effectively moving toward a new and dangerous addiction.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration found that Suboxone was the “primary drug” in 420 reported deaths since 2003. The National Pain Report reported that more than 30,000 emergency room visits in 2010 were the result of Suboxone misuse. Of those ER visits, more than 50 percent were considered “recreational” use of the drug.

Signs of Abuse and Misuse

There are numerous physical and psychological effects that can suggest a person is misusing Suboxone. Noticing these signs in the right context can help the individual to receive the treatment necessary to wean off Suboxone:

– Nausea and vomiting
– Unpredictable mood swings
– Muscle aches
– Fever
– Headaches
– Insomnia

Treatment for Suboxone Addiction

As with most cases of opioid abuse, the first step of treatment is detoxification, the controlled and supervised withdrawal from Suboxone.

Since this will trigger the usual withdrawal symptoms, it is imperative that detox is conducted in a treatment facility, in the presence of certified healthcare professionals.

Getting The Right Help At Our Suboxone Rehab In Kentucky 

When clients are ready, they can be released from treatment, but it is necessary that they touch with a 12-Step group or an aftercare support program, like an alumni treatment program.

If you are ready to quit using Suboxone, JourneyPure Bowling Green is here for you.

We help manage those difficult days of drug withdrawal through medically managed detox. Next, we design a comprehensive holistic recovery plan to address the core reasons for the drug abuse. This involves taking an integrated treatment approach for co-occurring disorders, which are mental health disorders that occur alongside the substance addiction.

Don’t let an addiction to Suboxone define your life. Call now for more information. The call is free, confidential, and there is no obligation to enroll. Let JourneyPure Bowling Green find your path to freedom today!

Get the best treatment for yourself or a loved one.

Fill out the form below and we will reach out to you to let you know how we can help you get your life back!


Stay Up To Date

  • neurofeedback therapy

    What is Neurofeedback Therapy?

    Mental illness has long been shadowed by stigma. This stigma kept people from seeking help and limited the options people had when they did try to seek help. Luckily for those suffering there has been an opening of support and resources for all types

  • songwriting therapy

    Songwriting Therapy Heals Patients in Recovery

    For many, especially those undergoing treatment for addiction and mental health issues, it can be difficult to express feelings verbally. Addiction is rarely the only struggle one’s facing when they enter treatment; it’s often coupled with some t

  • The Heroin Epidemic in Kentucky

    Known as “The Bluegrass State,” Kentucky is home to the world-famous Kentucky Derby, is notorious for its bourbon, coal mines and even fried chicken. What it’s lesser known is the devastating effect heroin is having on families. There is a hero

  • Finding Hope through Family Therapy

    At JourneyPure Bowling Green, we feel very strongly that family involvement throughout one’s addiction treatment is essential for long-term recovery. Organizations including the National Institute on Drug Abuse and U.S. Department of Health and Hum

  • A Guide to 12-Step Meetings

    As part of your continuing care plan, it will be recommended you attend regular 12-step meetings for support and encouragement. Understanding the founding principles and the general meeting guidelines can help ease some fears and anxiety you might be

  • Sober Fall Activities Near Bowling Green

    Fall is a great time to get outside and enjoy the cooler weather and head out for some festive family activities. A major contributor in long-term recovery and preventing relapse is steering clear of triggers. The best way to do that is to change you

  • Michaela’s Story: Road to Recovery

    It is estimated more than two-thirds of people that struggle with addiction have experienced some type of childhood trauma. For Michaela S., it was a family tragedy. She was just 9-years-old when she lost her brother in an ATV accident. He was only a

  • 12-Step Meetings: What to Expect

    If you’ve just completed a treatment program and are looking to get connected to people in recovery or if you’d like to stop drinking or using drugs and are looking for some support, 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonym

  • Staying Motivated in Recovery

    Staying Motivated in Recovery

    Addiction is a deadly disease that can sneak up on you when you least expect it. One minute you think you have your life under control and the next minute you realize you are lying to everyone, including yourself. You have difficulty managing your wo

  • How to Stop Enabling an Addict

    Addiction is a tough disease — both for the person with the problem, as well as their friends and families, who may feel helpless in their ability to keep a loved one out of harm’s way. Though addictions only affect the addict themselves on a phy

  • 10 Common Fears of Rehab and How to Overcome Them

    Making the decision to enter a treatment facility to get help with an addiction is certainly not easy. There are many common fears of entering rehab that come up when contemplating this decision. The good news is, you’re not alone in feeling this w

  • 5 Stress Relief Tools for Recovering Addicts

    Family problems, traffic jams and looming deadlines. Everybody has experienced stress at some point, but for individuals suffering from addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders, stress can be destructive. Stress overload – or an inability



  • Everyone who works here is very kind and helpful. They really want what is best for you. The housing is super nice and comfortable. I am very pleased with the time I spent here.



  • JourneyPure Bowling Green has changed my life this is the first time I have ever been to a Rehabilitation Center and while it was not at all what I expected, it was exactly what I needed.



  • Great place. I learned much here about my addiction and I feel that I now have the tools to control it. They have great a great staff and the accommodations are top notch.

    Terry F


  • My family member is still sober a year and a half after his treatment stay here.



  • This place was GREAT! I feel like they helped me with much more than I expected.

    Tim M


  • I loved my time here and I learned a lot about my recovery. All the staff were great and really helped me in the areas that I needed help in.

    Caleb H


  • The people here are very nice and will do whatever it takes to help you out, they are very helpful, its a great place to start off your sobriety



  • I have enjoyed my stay and feel very confident in my recovery. Everyone here has been wonderful and very helpful. I would recommend Journey Pure to anyone seeking recovery.