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Signs of Suboxone Abuse

Jan 19, 2024

Suboxone is a valuable medication in the field of addiction treatment, providing hope to those suffering from opioid addiction. It works by combining buprenorphine and naloxone to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms, thereby assisting in recovery. However, Suboxone’s dual nature poses a potential challenge: while it is an important tool for rehabilitation, it is also prone to abuse. Understanding the fine line between its therapeutic use and misuse is critical, as this blog post will demonstrate.

Suboxone abuse is a growing concern, as this medication used to treat opioid addiction also can be misused. Overuse, using it without a prescription, or combining it with other substances to increase the effects are all signs of Suboxone abuse. The risks of this abuse include overdose and withdrawal when stopping use suddenly. Seeking help is critical, and Hanley Center provides comprehensive addiction treatment programs to address Suboxone misuse, offering you or your loved one the support, counseling, and tools needed to break free from the cycle of abuse and create a path to long-term recovery.

If you or a loved one need help, call our admissions team today at 561-841-1033.

What is Suboxone Abuse?

Suboxone abuse is typically defined as the medication’s inappropriate or non-prescribed use. Suboxone misuse can be defined by a number of factors, including obtaining Suboxone from another person, the black market, or any other source without a legitimate medical prescription. Modifying the prescribed Suboxone dosage, such as taking more than prescribed or using it more frequently than prescribed, is also considered misuse. Another form of abuse is combining Suboxone with other drugs, particularly those that depress the central nervous system, such as benzodiazepines or alcohol, which can be extremely dangerous. Abuse also includes taking Suboxone for its potential euphoric or sedative effects and disregarding a healthcare provider’s recommendations or instructions.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Suboxone abuse?

Here is a list of the main signs and symptoms to look for in someone who may be abusing Suboxone.

  • Taking it without a prescription: Suboxone usage without a valid medical prescription
  • Frequent dose increases: Using increasingly higher doses of Suboxone over time to achieve the same effects
  • Combining with other substances: Using Suboxone in combination with other drugs, particularly central nervous system depressants such as benzodiazepines or alcohol
  • Cravings and preoccupation: A strong desire or obsession to obtain and use Suboxone
  • Doctor shopping: Seeing multiple doctors to collect multiple Suboxone prescriptions
  • Engaging in risky behaviors: Driving while high on Suboxone, sharing needles, or engaging in risky sexual behavior
  • Neglecting responsibilities: A decrease in work, family, or social responsibilities as a result of Suboxone abuse
  • Financial problems: Growing debts and other financial difficulties as a result of Suboxone or other substance use
  • Withdrawal symptoms: Symptoms of withdrawal appearing in between Suboxone use
  • Social withdrawal: Isolating from friends and family, as well as avoiding social situations with peers
  • Physical changes: Changes in weight and appearance
  • Inability to quit: Repeated, unsuccessful attempts to stop or reduce Suboxone use

Dangers of Abusing Suboxone

Depending on the extent and duration of misuse, the risks associated with Suboxone abuse range from relatively minor issues to increasingly severe problems. Individuals who abuse Suboxone may experience mild side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, and nausea at first. As the misuse progresses, they may develop a tolerance to the drug, requiring higher doses to achieve the same effects, resulting in financial strain and preoccupation with obtaining the drug. Mid-spectrum risks include the possibility of developing a physical and psychological dependence on Suboxone, which will manifest as withdrawal symptoms when not used. This can lead to a cycle of use in order to avoid discomfort.

At the more severe end of the spectrum, there is an increased risk of overdose, especially when Suboxone is combined with other substances, as it can depress the central nervous system and lead to respiratory failure. Prolonged and increasing misuse can also result in strained relationships, job loss, legal issues, and a continuing cycle of opioid addiction. Understanding the risk range emphasizes the importance of using the medication as prescribed and early intervention in dealing with Suboxone misuse.

Find Help for Suboxone Abuse at Hanley Center

Because of its comprehensive and individualized approach to treatment, Hanley Center is an excellent place to begin the journey of recovery from Suboxone abuse. The facility provides a medical detox program, ensuring a safer and more comfortable transition into sobriety for those experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Hanley Center tailors recovery programs to the specific needs and preferences of each individual and relies on evidence-based interventions to ensure that proven and effective therapies are used to address Suboxone abuse. The importance of the support of loved ones in the recovery process is emphasized in family sessions, and the link to continuing care services extends the support, guidance, and resources needed for a long and successful recovery journey.


Hanley Center is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care for mental illnesses and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting wellness. For information on our programs, call us today: 561-841-1033.

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