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Is Suboxone Addictive?

Suboxone is a medication that is used for the treatment of opiate addiction. According to the National Institutes of Health, it is a prescription medication from the opioid antagonist category. It reduces opiate withdrawal symptoms as it produces similar effects.

Individuals who have suffered from a drug addiction are often reluctant to begin taking another drug – even one designed to stop the abuse cycle – as they fear further addiction. As a result, many addicts wonder if taking a drug like Suboxone is beneficial to them.

The Addictive Nature of Suboxone

The reality is that Suboxone does have addictive properties, as it contains buprenorphine. This ingredient is a low-level opiate but falls under that category nonetheless.

While Suboxone can be addictive, its benefits often outweigh the potential risks of further dependency as it helps addicts to stop using far more harmful drugs. The addictive potential of Suboxone is also far lower than the much more potent opiates.

Additionally, Suboxone can be administered in a controlled setting to ensure that the treatment medication is not abused. Often, this occurs in one of the following ways:

  • Daily medication distribution while living in an inpatient treatment facility. In such a facility, the Suboxone is kept under lock and key so it isn’t possible for addicts to get their hands on any additional medication.
  • Distribution on an outpatient basis. Hospitals, rehab facilities and pharmacies distribute daily doses of Suboxone to individuals who require it to ensure that they never have more than they need immediately.
  • If prescribed to minors, in some cases a family member may be tasked with monitoring the drug supply and distributing the necessary drugs.

*Detecting Suboxone Addiction

The signs of Suboxone addiction are typically behavioral:

  • Drug-seeking behavior, where the main priority every day is finding drugs or consuming drugs
  • Lying about drug use to loved ones
  • Doctor-shopping or lying about where the drugs are going in hopes of getting another prescription
  • Stealing medication from friends or family
  • Changes in lifestyle and behavior; for example, spending time with different friends and failing to go to work

Treating Suboxone Addiction

As Suboxone is a medication prescribed to treat opiate addiction, the treatment protocol for Suboxone addiction itself is usually free of medications.  Often, the process begins with supervised detox from the medication, where withdrawal symptoms are monitored. Following this stage of the process, counseling begins. One-on-one counseling with a treatment professional can help deal with the reasons why an addict uses as there is a psychological component.

Additional support comes from fellow addicts in recovery. The process is hard and having a peer to talk to can make all the difference in the world to those who feel they aren’t strong enough to overcome their addiction.

*Preventing Suboxone Addiction

There are some tips that can help any recovering addict prevent the development of an addiction to Suboxone:

  • Take the medication strictly as prescribed by a doctor or treatment professional.
  • Do not rely solely on Suboxone for recovery. Find new, productive ways to filter the energy and remain occupied.
  • Be proactive and talk to someone about cravings before starting to abuse Suboxone.