Suboxone was born from the painkiller overdose crisis. Experts searching for a new way to keep people away from opioids created what seemed like an ideal solution, but they left open the option of a new addiction.
Suboxone contains two elements.
- A narcotic: This ingredient is addictive, and manufacturers know that.
- An agonist: This ingredient works like a cap on opioid receptors, which can keep the drugs from working.
Each time you take Suboxone, your brain is enduring a push and a pull. The narcotic helps to scratch the itch of the addiction, so you’re not overwhelmed with cravings for drugs. Meanwhile, the agonist keeps some of the narcotic from working.
In theory, this should keep you from abusing the drug. If you take a very high dose, the agonist works against your high. Some of the drug will pass right through your body without doing anything at all. And the low narcotic will block your cravings, so you’re less inclined to binge in the first place.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse says very addictive drugs like heroin cause a rush of sensation, and it’s that instant transformation that makes them so rewarding. Suboxone, by contrast, has a slow onset. You shouldn’t feel the moment when it starts working, and that can also make it less enticing to abuse.
For people in recovery from addiction, Suboxone is a lifesaver. According to Psych Central, success rates with drugs like these are as high as 60 percent compared to 25 percent without medication support.
Even so, there are people who abuse Suboxone. Those who do can develop an addiction.