Is it possible to take drugs and get high while on Suboxone?
If you are thinking about starting Suboxone, you might wonder what will happen if you take drugs while on Suboxone. Will the Suboxone block the drug high? Or, will Suboxone make you sick when you take drugs with it?
First, Suboxone does not have anything to do with non-opioid drugs. If you take Suboxone and then take cocaine, you will feel the effects of the cocaine. If you take methamphetamine, you will feel it. The high will be the same, and the crash afterwards will also be the same.
However, if you take an opioid while on Suboxone, the effects of the opioid will be blocked. Will it be completely blocked with no effect at all? No, most likely the Suboxone will not fully block the opioid and you may feel the effects of it.
One of the risks of prescribing an opioid receptor blocker to a patient is that they may try to overcome the blockade. Unfortunately, if they take enough opioid to feel the effects, they may overdose.
If opioids are blocked by Suboxone, what if I need emergency surgery?
This is a concern of many patients who take Suboxone. What if they have emergency surgery? Will the opioids for pain given by the surgeon work at all?
Fortunately, it is possible for doctors, in emergency situations, to work around the blocking effects of Suboxone and provide adequate pain relief while under close supervision.
If I use a lot of different drugs, is there any point to getting Suboxone treatment?
This is an excellent question! If a person takes methamphetamine, cocaine, oxycodone, heroin, and alcohol, would it make sense to start Suboxone?
In many cases, the answer is yes, Suboxone should be started, even if it will only address the opioid addiction. The reason for this is the deadly nature of opioid misuse. The death rate from opioid overdose is much higher than other drugs, though alcohol is very close.
Providing Suboxone treatment to an opioid-using patient who is unable or unwilling to give up cocaine, for example, can still protect the patient and improve their quality of life. It might be considered a form of harm reduction. Even though the overall drug problem has not yet been solved, at least the patient will be safer with respect to opioid use.
Importantly, when a patient can not give up other drugs, a residential or outpatient program may be best with close supervision. Even though drugs such as cocaine are not as deadly as opioids, they still lead to serious consequences.
Does Suboxone help at all in quitting drugs other than opioids?
The main benefit of taking Suboxone is to help a patient stop ongoing opioid use and improve their quality of life. Yet, it may have some beneficial effect with respect to other drug addictions.
The drug naltrexone, an opioid blocker, has been studied for the treatment of alcohol addiction, binge eating, cocaine and meth addiction, and nicotine addiction. By blocking opioid receptors, the patient is conditioned to have a reduced response to the addiction through pharmacological extinction.
Suboxone contains the drug buprenorphine which is a mixed partial opioid agonist and opioid antagonist. This means that it works similarly to naltrexone in some ways.
While further studies should be done on this subject, it is reasonable to conclude that Suboxone may help patients to quit other drug addictions while they take it to treat opioid addiction.
Should I tell my doctor that I am taking other drugs while on Suboxone treatment?
It is important to be open and honest about drug use with your doctor. Do not be concerned about your doctor kicking you out of the program. Suboxone doctors understand the nature of addiction.
Your doctor will be able to help you and provide guidance. One thing that your doctor may explain is that the opioid receptor blockade of Suboxone can reduce your cravings for other drugs. You may continue other drug use out of habit.
If you are aware that your cravings are reduced, it may help to motivate you to alter your daily routines to avoid triggers. For example, if you drive by a drug dealer’s house on the way to work every day, you can change your travel route.
In changing your routines to avoid temptation, you may notice that the cravings for those other drugs are not as bad as they were before. You do not have to act on old habits that lead to self-harming actions.