The Danger of Abusing Suboxone® Through Snorting, Smoking or Injecting

October 30, 2020

Suboxone® is used in medical settings to treat opioid addiction. This semisynthetic opioid is made up of buprenorphine, which is a partial opioid agonist, and naloxone, which is an opioid antagonist. Together, these two substances work to activate opioid receptors in the brain to relieve cravings while blocking the effects of opioids.

While Suboxone® can help individuals break and recover from their opioid addiction, using this medication still comes with risks — including the potential for misuse and abuse.

The Dangers of Snorting, Smoking or Injecting Suboxone®

Suboxone® comes in pill form, which is designed to be swallowed, or film, which is designed to dissolve under the tongue. Using Suboxone® in ways other than prescribed can be detrimental to one’s health and recovery.

To enhance the effect of this medication and create a high, some users will crush the pill in order to snort, smoke or inject it. When this pill is crushed, it enters the bloodstream and reaches the brain much faster than if it’s taken orally.

When someone uses the drug in this way, the naloxone is activated and the buprenorphine in the medication will no longer work. As a result, the individual can enter opioid withdrawal.

What Are the Effects of Abusing Suboxone®?

Experts associate a wide range of negative side effects with Suboxone® abuse. When this pill is crushed and snorted, it can cause damage to the nasal passages, leading to a bloody nose, congestion or drainage, facial swelling and difficulty speaking.

Misusing this medication can also lead to symptoms such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Muscle spasms
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle and bone pain

Abusing Suboxone® can also lead to serotonin syndrome, which can cause a wide range of serious physical and mental side effects including:

  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Loss of coordination
  • Rapid heart rate

What Is Buprenorphine Insufflation?

Along with the potential for physical and mental side effects, snorting Suboxone® can also lead to buprenorphine insufflation. The effects can be severe — ranging from involuntary tremors and shaking to tightness in the chest. Overdoses even have the potential to become fatal, especially when the respiratory system is damaged.

What Is Suboxone® Treatment Used For?

When used as prescribed, Suboxone® treatment can play an important role in treating opioid addiction. Because of the way opioids minimize pain while activating the brain’s reward centers and releasing endorphins, quitting can be difficult. This factor, coupled with the intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms that are so common, can make recovery challenging.

To make recovery more manageable and increase the rate of long-term success, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Suboxone® for the treatment of opioid addiction. By incorporating it into medication-assisted treatment (MAT), individuals can avoid cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Get Started on Your Road to Recovery With Medication-Assisted Rehab at AppleGate

Here at AppleGate Recovery, we offer Office-Based Opioid Treatment (OBOT) for adults, incorporating Suboxone® as part of our individual treatment plans, counseling and recovery services.

With the treatment and support of our physicals and professionals, we’ll work with you to achieve long-term recovery. Contact us today to get started.

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