The Dangers of Snorting Suboxone
What Is Suboxone And What Is It Used For?
Suboxone is made up of buprenorphine and naloxone and used in medication-assisted therapy to treat opioid addictions to drugs like heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, fentanyl, codeine, and others. Buprenorphine is an opioid partial agonist responsible for treating the symptoms of opioid withdrawal. Naloxone is an opioid partial antagonist used to counter the effects of narcotic drugs.
Understanding Suboxone Abuse
Suboxone abuse frequently occurs with people who have previously abused other opioids. Abuse is defined as a pattern of use where the person using the drug puts themselves in harm’s way by either the method or frequency of use. Here are a few ways people abuse Suboxone:
- using more than what’s directed.
- using it to get high.
- snorting the drug.
- diversion (sharing/selling) to someone else.
- using it with alcohol or other drugs.
- using it longer than you’re supposed to.
- using a prescription that isn’t yours.
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Does Abusing Suboxone Lead To Dependence Or Addiction?
A lot of people who become addicted to opioids don’t do so intentionally, and the same goes for Suboxone. Addictions aren’t all the same, and not everyone abuses drugs for the same reason. On top of that, variables like environment, genetics, and social surroundings play a part in addiction and drug dependence.
Addiction and drug dependence are part of the chemistry of the human body and brain. Addiction is referred to as a “chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use.” Dependence is when a person’s use of a drug builds up their tolerance to the point that they feel sick when they stop using that drug.
How To Properly Use Suboxone
Suboxone is a sublingual tablet to dissolve under the tongue—this lets the active ingredients enter into the bloodstream over a period of time. A patient will be prescribed Suboxone to take it once a day, but over time this dose may be decreased. Suboxone isn’t a cure-all method for addiction treatment and is meant to be used in conjunction with therapy.
When it’s used properly, Suboxone isn’t intended to be an opioid-substitution either. At the same time, it isn’t designed to be addictive like opiates. The unfortunate reality is that so often a person is not able to manage an opiate addiction alone, and a regimen of Suboxone may be necessary.
Why Do Some People Snort Suboxone?
When a person swallows a pill of Suboxone, it’s ingested and can be in the bloodstream in about 15 minutes. If that same person grinds the pill down into a powder and snorts it, the highly sensitive nasal tissues will absorb the drug and send it directly into the bloodstream. Thus allowing the drug into the brain at a faster rate.
The difference between prescription opioids and Suboxone is the chance of overdosing. By design, Suboxone has what is known as a “ceiling”—which means that after 16 to 32 mg doses, the drug basically becomes ineffective. In other words, Suboxone minimizes and deters drug abuse.
How Does Snorting Suboxone Make You Feel?
When a person snorts Suboxone, they receive all of the active ingredients at the same time, instead of being released over a longer period. It can lead to numbness, nausea, and drowsy euphoria. Though Suboxone isn’t meant to make a patient feel anything but normal and is only intended to take the edge off the withdrawals and reduce or diminish cravings. This happens because “the brain thinks it is receiving the problem opioid, so withdrawal symptoms stay away.” (U.S. Department of Mental Health and Human Services).
Side-Effects Of Snorting Suboxone
Snorting Suboxone can also have a serious impact on a person’s health. The lungs, throat, nasal passage, and brain are the first in danger. Snorting Suboxone can increase that chances of some of the drug’s side-effects and a range of other potential dangers as well:
- Overdose and toxicity
- Sinus infections
- Frequent nosebleeds
- Permanent damage to vocal cords
- Sleep apnea
- Inability to sleep well
- Increased drug dependence
- Behavior problems
- Increased chance of addiction
- Lack of control
Is There A Safe Way To Snort Suboxone?
No. There is not a safe way to snort Suboxone. The drug is designed to be safely used as a sublingual tablet. Along with that, Suboxone isn’t really meant to be used for a long period of time. It should only be used as an aid to detoxification, withdrawals, and therapy. With the ceiling effect of the drug’s minimal high—snorting the drug will not make a difference as far as euphoria goes, but it can increase the chance of overdose.
Snorting too much suboxone can also precipitate painful opioid withdrawal symptoms. Not always though; this is because “the naloxone in Suboxone guards against abuse by causing withdrawal symptoms in abusers who crush and either inject or snort the drug” (National Drug Intelligence Center).
Withdrawal Symptoms From Suboxone
Withdrawals can be different from one person to another because not everybody’s using habits are the same. The physical symptoms of withdrawal are usually at their peak at 2 to 3 days after a person stops taking Suboxone; with vomiting and other digestive problems. They become less severe over a month or so—moving from anxiety and depression to drug cravings. Some of the most common withdrawal symptoms of snorting Suboxone are:
- Muscle pain
- Chest pain
- Stomach pain
- Intense cravings for Suboxone
Is Suboxone Okay For Me?
Suboxone will not be an appropriate medication for everyone—and there are tests to determine that. “Your doctor will ask you questions about your addiction, health, and other problems. You will get a drug test—usually a check of urine or saliva. You also will have a physical exam and tests for diseases that are common to people who have been abusing drugs. Your liver will be checked to make sure the medication can be safely taken. If buprenorphine is safe and appropriate for you, your doctor may recommend it” (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services).Article Sources
National Institute on Drug Abuse - https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/media-guide/science-drug-abuse-addiction-basics