Does Subutex Make You High? Discover the Euphoric Effects of Subutex Abuse12 min read

Subutex, a medication known for its role in treating opioid dependency, has garnered attention for its potential to induce a euphoric high when misused. In this article, we delve into the effects of Subutex abuse, exploring how it interacts with the brain and body, the risks associated with seeking a high, and the long-term consequences of misuse.

  • Understanding Subutex: Learn about the medication’s intended use and its function as a partial opioid agonist.
  • The Science Behind It: Explore how Subutex interacts with the brain’s opioid receptors and affects neurotransmitter activity.
  • Effects on the Body: Discover the pain-relieving and relaxing effects of Subutex, along with potential side effects.
  • Risk of Dependency: Differentiate between dependence and addiction, and understand how Subutex can lead to dependency.
  • Subutex Abuse and Addiction: Uncover the reasons why individuals seek a high from Subutex and the psychological and physical consequences of addiction.
  • Risks and Dangers: Delve into the potential dangers of getting high on Subutex, including overdose risks and impaired cognitive functions.

The Science Behind Subutex

Subutex, also known by its generic name buprenorphine, is classified as a partial opioid agonist, meaning it interacts with opioid receptors in the brain. Unlike full agonists like heroin or oxyco, Subutex has a ceiling effect, which limits its euphoric potential when used as prescribed in opioid dependency treatment.
While Subutex activates some opioid receptors, it also blocks others, reducing the euphoric effects of other opioids if taken simultaneously. This mechanism is crucial in reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms in individuals undergoing medication-assisted treatment.

Effects on the Brain and Nervous System

When Subutex is taken as prescribed, it helps stabilize brain chemistry and reduces the overpowering need for opioids. The drug binds to opioid receptors, but its partial agonist nature means it does not produce the intense high associated with full opioid agonists.
However, when Subutex is misused, individuals may attempt to bypass its intended slow-release mechanism by crushing or injecting the tablets. This can lead to a rapid and intense release of the drug, potentially inducing euphoria.

The Dangers of Misuse

  • Overdose Risk: Misusing Subutex increases the risk of overdose, especially when combined with other central nervous system depressants.
  • Health Consequences: Prolonged misuse can lead to respiratory issues, liver damage, and cognitive impairments.
  • Dependency and Withdrawal: Frequent misuse of Subutex can lead to physical and psychological dependency, resulting in challenging withdrawal symptoms.

The Risks of Subutex Misuse

Subutex misuse poses significant risks to individuals seeking a euphoric high. When taken in ways other than prescribed, such as crushing and snorting or injecting, the drug can lead to rapid and intense effects. The misuse of Subutex bypasses its slow-release mechanism, potentially causing overdose, respiratory issues, and liver damage. Moreover, frequent misuse can lead to physical and psychological dependency, resulting in challenging withdrawal symptoms.

Overdose Potential

Misusing Subutex significantly increases the risk of overdose, especially when combined with other central nervous system depressants, such as alcohol or benzodiazepines. An overdose on Subutex can cause severe respiratory depression, leading to life-threatening consequences if not promptly treated.

The Importance of Immediate Medical Attention

  • Recognizing Overdose Symptoms: Understanding the signs of a Subutex overdose, such as extreme drowsiness, slowed breathing, and loss of consciousness.
  • Seeking Help: In case of a suspected overdose, it is vital to call emergency services immediately to receive prompt medical attention.
  • Administering Naloxone: Naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal medication, can be administered by trained individuals to counteract the effects of Subutex overdose temporarily.

Combining Subutex with Other Substances

Individuals seeking a heightened high may attempt to combine Subutex with other substances. This dangerous practice can lead to unpredictable and potentially life-threatening interactions. Central nervous system depressants, such as alcohol and benzodiazepines, can amplify the sedative effects of Subutex, leading to respiratory depression and overdose.

The Risks of Polydrug Use

Combining Subutex with other opioids or sedatives increases the risk of adverse effects and complications. Polydrug use can place immense strain on the body and result in severe health consequences, even in small amounts.

Staying Informed and Safe

  • Educating Users: Raising awareness among individuals using Subutex about the dangers of polydrug use and potential interactions.
  • Seeking Professional Advice: Encouraging users to consult healthcare providers before combining medications or substances with Subutex.
  • Support and Harm Reduction: Promoting harm reduction strategies to reduce the risks associated with substance use.

Long-Term Effects of Subutex Misuse

Prolonged misuse of Subutex can have severe and lasting effects on both physical and mental health. Tolerance to the drug may develop over time, leading to escalating dosages and potential organ damage.

Impact on Vital Organs

Subutex misuse can take a toll on vital organs such as the liver and kidneys. The drug’s metabolization can strain these organs, potentially leading to complications and reduced overall health.

Monitoring and Medical Care

  • Regular Health Check-ups: Individuals using Subutex long-term should undergo routine medical check-ups to monitor organ function and overall health.
  • Seeking Medical Assistance: Any concerning symptoms or changes in health should be promptly reported to a healthcare professional for evaluation and appropriate management.

Getting Help: Treatment and Support

Seeking professional help is crucial for individuals struggling with Subutex misuse and addiction. Treatment for Subutex abuse typically involves a combination of medication-assisted treatment and therapy to address both the physical and psychological aspects of addiction.

Recognizing a Problem

Identifying the signs of Subutex misuse and addiction is the first step towards seeking help. Friends and family members can play a significant role in recognizing behavioral changes and encouraging their loved ones to seek treatment.

Supportive Interventions

  • Open Communication: Providing a safe space for open and non-judgmental communication can help individuals express their struggles and concerns.
  • Encouragement: Offering support and encouragement to seek professional help can empower individuals to take the necessary steps towards recovery.

Medical and Counseling Services

Effective treatment for Subutex misuse often involves a comprehensive approach that includes medical supervision and counseling. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) with Subutex or other medications can help manage withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings.

Outpatient vs. Inpatient Treatment

The choice between outpatient and inpatient treatment depends on the individual’s needs and the severity of their addiction. Outpatient programs allow individuals to receive treatment while living at home, while inpatient programs offer a more intensive, 24/7 approach within a controlled environment.

Considering Individual Needs

  • Outpatient: Suitable for individuals with a strong support system at home and milder addiction issues.
  • Inpatient: Ideal for those with severe addiction, co-occurring disorders, or a lack of stable support at home.

Comprehensive Treatment Programs

Effective treatment for Subutex misuse and addiction often combines medication-assisted treatment with behavioral interventions. Counseling and therapy address the underlying issues contributing to substance abuse and equip individuals with coping mechanisms.

Therapy and Behavioral Interventions

Various therapeutic approaches, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and contingency management, can be effective in helping individuals develop healthier behaviors and thought patterns.

Building a Strong Foundation for Recovery

  • Identifying Triggers: Recognizing triggers that lead to substance use and learning to manage them.
  • Healthy Coping Strategies: Developing constructive ways to cope with stress and negative emotions.
  • Relapse Prevention: Equipping individuals with skills to prevent relapse and maintain sobriety.

Subutex and Mental Health

Misusing Subutex can have profound effects on mental health. Individuals may experience mood swings, anxiety, and depression, which can worsen with prolonged abuse.

The Psychological Impact

Subutex abuse can lead to psychological distress, as the drug affects brain chemistry and neurotransmitter levels. The euphoria experienced during misuse may be followed by periods of intense sadness and emotional instability.

Seeking Mental Health Support

  • Professional Assessment: Individuals experiencing mental health challenges due to Subutex misuse should seek evaluation and treatment from mental health professionals.
  • Therapeutic Interventions: Psychotherapy and counseling can address underlying emotional issues and provide coping strategies.

Understanding Subutex Dependence

Dependence on Subutex is a possible consequence of misuse. Individuals may find it challenging to quit the drug due to physical and psychological reliance.

Physical vs. Psychological Dependence

Physical dependence involves the body’s adaptation to the presence of the drug, leading to withdrawal symptoms when use is reduced or stopped. Psychological dependence, on the other hand, is characterized by a strong emotional need to use Subutex to cope with stress or negative emotions.

Breaking the Cycle of Dependence

  • Gradual Tapering: When seeking to discontinue Subutex use, a healthcare professional may recommend a gradual reduction in dosage to manage withdrawal symptoms.
  • Therapy for Coping: Counseling and support groups can help individuals address the emotional aspects of dependence and develop healthier coping mechanisms.

Recovery and Support

Recovery from Subutex misuse is a challenging but achievable journey. Having a strong support system and access to resources can greatly enhance the chances of successful recovery.

Importance of Supportive Relationships

Recovery is often more successful when individuals have understanding and supportive friends and family members. These individuals can provide encouragement, understanding, and a sense of belonging.

Supportive Resources

  • Support Groups: Joining support groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA), can provide a sense of community and understanding from others who have faced similar challenges.
  • Therapeutic Aftercare: Engaging in aftercare programs following formal treatment can help individuals maintain sobriety and prevent relapse.

Empowering Informed Decisions

Knowing the potential risks and consequences of Subutex misuse empowers individuals to make informed decisions about their health and well-being.

Staying Educated

Keeping oneself informed about the effects of Subutex and other substances can prevent unintentional misuse and reduce potential harm.

Spreading Awareness

  • Educating Others: Encouraging others to stay informed and seek help if needed can contribute to a safer and more understanding community.
  • Community Initiatives: Supporting local initiatives and programs aimed at raising awareness about substance misuse can have a positive impact on public health.

Addressing Relapse Triggers

For individuals in recovery from Subutex misuse, avoiding relapse triggers is essential for maintaining sobriety. Triggers can be internal or external factors that lead to cravings and potentially a return to substance use.

Identifying Personal Triggers

Each individual may have unique triggers that can lead to relapse. These could include stress, certain environments, or even specific people associated with past substance use.

Developing Coping Strategies

  • Cognitive Techniques: Learning cognitive strategies to reframe thoughts and manage stress can help individuals respond to triggers effectively.
  • Healthy Activities: Engaging in hobbies and activities that promote relaxation and positive emotions can serve as healthy alternatives to substance use.

Support for Loved Ones

Subutex misuse not only affects the individual but also has an impact on their loved ones. Supporting someone struggling with Subutex misuse requires understanding, patience, and empathy.

Family Dynamics and Communication

The family plays a crucial role in supporting recovery. Open communication and active listening can foster a supportive and non-judgmental environment.

Providing Encouragement

  • Recognizing Progress: Acknowledging and celebrating milestones in recovery can motivate and encourage the individual to continue on their journey.
  • Seeking Family Support: Family members may also benefit from joining support groups that address the challenges they face as caregivers or loved ones of someone in recovery.

Rebuilding a Fulfilling Life

Recovery from Subutex misuse involves more than just quitting the drug—it’s about creating a fulfilling and purposeful life without substances.

Setting Goals and Ambitions

Establishing short-term and long-term goals can provide direction and motivation in recovery. Goals can include education, career advancement, or pursuing personal passions.

Embracing a Healthy Lifestyle

  • Physical Health: Regular exercise, proper nutrition, and sufficient rest contribute to improved overall well-being.
  • Emotional Well-being: Engaging in mindfulness practices and therapy can help individuals manage emotions and develop resilience.

Seeking Professional Guidance

Recovery from Subutex misuse can be complex, and professional guidance can significantly improve the chances of successful and lasting recovery.

Individualized Treatment Plans

Treatment plans tailored to individual needs are more effective in addressing the specific challenges and underlying causes of substance misuse.

Accessing Treatment Resources

  • Healthcare Providers: Seeking assistance from addiction specialists or physicians experienced in treating substance misuse.
  • Supportive Services: Utilizing community resources and programs that provide assistance to individuals seeking recovery.


Subutex, a valuable medication in treating opioid dependency, can pose risks when misused to achieve a high. Understanding the potential consequences of Subutex misuse is crucial for making informed decisions about one’s health. Seeking professional help, addressing triggers, and building a supportive network are essential steps toward achieving lasting recovery and reclaiming a fulfilling life.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Subutex and Euphoria

1. What is Subutex, and How Does It Work?

Subutex is a medication used in medication-assisted treatment for opioid dependency. It contains buprenorphine, a partial opioid agonist that binds to opioid receptors in the brain, reducing withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

2. Can Subutex Make You Feel High?

When taken as prescribed, Subutex is unlikely to produce a euphoric high. However, misusing Subutex by crushing, snorting, or injecting it can lead to a rapid release of the drug, potentially inducing a sense of euphoria.

3. Is Subutex Addictive?

Subutex can lead to physical and psychological dependence when misused or used for extended periods. Addiction can develop when an individual compulsively seeks the drug to experience its euphoric effects.

4. How Long Do the Effects of Subutex Last?

When taken as prescribed, Subutex’s effects can last up to 24 to 72 hours. Misuse, such as crushing the tablets, can result in a quicker onset of effects but with a shorter duration.

5. What Are the Risks of Subutex Overdose?

Taking large amounts of Subutex or combining it with other substances can lead to an overdose. Symptoms may include extreme drowsiness, slow breathing, and loss of consciousness, which can be life-threatening without prompt medical attention.

6. Can Subutex Help Manage Chronic Pain?

Subutex is not commonly prescribed for pain management due to its partial agonist properties. Other medications may be more suitable for chronic pain relief.

7. How Is Subutex Different from Suboxone?

Subutex contains only buprenorphine, while Suboxone is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. Naloxone is added to deter misuse, as it can precipitate withdrawal symptoms if the medication is misused.

8. Can I Drive While Taking Subutex?

Subutex may cause drowsiness and impaired motor function, especially when first starting treatment or when the dosage is adjusted. It is essential to exercise caution and avoid driving or operating heavy machinery until the body adjusts to the medication.

9. What Should I Do If I Suspect Someone Is Misusing Subutex?

If you suspect someone is misusing Subutex or any other substance, approach the situation with care and compassion. Encourage open communication and offer support, suggesting professional help and treatment options.

10. How Can I Safely Discontinue Subutex Use?

If you wish to stop using Subutex, consult with a healthcare provider to create a personalized tapering plan. Gradual dose reduction can help manage withdrawal symptoms and increase the likelihood of successful discontinuation.


Understanding the nuances of Subutex and its potential for inducing a high is essential for informed decision-making. Misuse of Subutex can lead to significant risks and consequences, while appropriate use within a structured treatment program can be a valuable tool in opioid dependency recovery.