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Does Suboxone Get You High?

Peter Manza, PhD profile image
Reviewed By Peter Manza, PhD • Updated Sep 17, 2023 • 8 cited sources

Suboxone is a Medication for Addiction Treatment (MAT) composed of buprenorphine, a partial opioid agonist, and naloxone, an opioid antagonist.  People in recovery from opioid use disorder (OUD) are accustomed to powerful doses of opioids, and they rarely feel high when taking their medication as directed. 

But people who misuse Suboxone by taking high doses, including people with no history of OUD, can get high from it. Otherwise, if you misuse it by injecting it, you cannot get high because the naloxone component will send you into precipitated withdrawal.

If your Suboxone dose is too low, you may be tempted to misuse your medication, as your OUD isn’t fully controlled.[1] Talk to your doctor if you’re tempted to take more than directed. And always keep your medications in a safe, secure spot, so others can’t take it and misuse it.

Can You Experience a Suboxone High?

Quick Answer

It’s highly unlikely you’ll get high off Suboxone if you’ve used opioids in the past and are taking it for opioid use disorder; however, if you’ve never taken an opioid and misuse Suboxone, you could experience euphoria.

Why Can Suboxone Get Someone High?

Suboxone contains buprenorphine, a long-acting partial opioid agonist. It attaches to receptors used by opioids like heroin and OxyContin in order to mitigate withdrawal symptoms and cravings so you can focus on recovery.

Researchers say buprenorphine is weaker than other opioids, and it does not cause intoxication in people with OUD.[2] Manufacturers added a second element to ensure you can’t misuse the drug.

If you’re using Suboxone properly to treat OUD, you will not feel high. If you do feel intoxicated, talk with your doctor. 

Buprenorphine is weaker than other opioids, and it does not cause intoxication in people with opioid use disorder.

If you have OUD and take your medication as directed, you won’t get high. But you could develop opioid intoxication with Suboxone if you fit these criteria:[2]

  • You have no OUD history: Brain cells unaccustomed to opioids can overreact to Suboxone and cause a high.
  • You mix your drugs: Adding benzodiazepines or other drugs to Suboxone could cause intoxication.
  • Your body doesn’t process Suboxone properly: Health issues, including severe liver damage, could allow your medication to build up and cause a mild high.

If you’re using Suboxone properly to treat OUD, you will not feel high. If you do feel intoxicated, talk with your doctor.

You Can’t Get High by Injecting or Snorting Suboxone

Although it’s possible for someone who is opioid naïve to get high off Suboxone when taking the tablets or strips, it’s impossible to get high by snorting or injecting Suboxone. [2]

This is because Suboxone contains naloxone, an opioid antagonist, which displaces opioids at the receptor site, rendering them inactive. The naloxone doesn’t do anything if you take Suboxone as prescribed, but crushing and snorting or injecting this medication will activate the naloxone. [2]

When you inject or snort Suboxone, the naloxone will send you into precipitated withdrawal, which involves distressing and painful symptoms, such as flu-like symptoms. [2]

Is Suboxone Addictive?

Buprenorphine, the active ingredient in Suboxone, is an opioid and does trigger mild euphoria in people with no drug use experience, and it is technically considered addictive—but only if you misuse the medication by taking it for reasons other than prescribed.

Officials study how often people misuse (or divert) prescription drugs. In these reports, medications like buprenorphine and methadone combined represent 15% of all misuse cases. To put this in perspective, oxycodone and hydrocodone appear in 67% of cases.[3]

If someone is regularly misusing Suboxone by taking larger or more frequent doses than prescribed or taking it without a prescription, they can develop a pattern of compulsive misuse known as addiction.

6 Myths About Suboxone Treatment

Of all prescription medications, Suboxone might be one of the most misunderstood. Myths about what the drug is and how it works may keep people from enrolling in lifesaving programs that help them quit using opioids and live a life of recovery.

These are a few common myths about Suboxone:

Myth 1: Suboxone Is Often Abused or Misused

Some people use Suboxone with or without a prescription to “get high.” However, most people with a prescription for Suboxone take it as prescribed. 

About 75% of people who misuse Suboxone do so because they’re trying to address withdrawal symptoms from an insufficient dose of Suboxone—not because they want to get high.[4] If this is the case, they should talk to their doctor about safely and legally increasing their dose.

Myth 2: Using Suboxone Is Just Substituting One Addictive Drug for Another

Suggesting that people on Suboxone are just substituting one addiction for another is far too simplistic of a way of thinking about opioid use disorder. 

Patients on Suboxone for OUD are not engaging in compulsive opioid misuse that impairs their lives and functioning. They are following a medical protocol with a safe and effective medication that allows them to achieve and maintain abstinence and heal themselves from OUD.

Patients seeking addiction treatment with Suboxone should be supported, not shamed for their smart and safe decision to take Suboxone.

Myth 3: You Can Overdose on Suboxone

It is very difficult to overdose on Suboxone due to buprenorphine’s ceiling effect. This ceiling effect means that, at certain moderate doses, the respiratory depression that occurs with buprenorphine plateaus, and even if you take higher doses, you won’t experience greater effects.

In addition to the ceiling effect, the naloxone component of Suboxone also prevents misuse that can lead to an overdose. If you inject or insufflate the medication, you can’t overdose—instead, you experience withdrawal.In almost all overdose cases involving Suboxone, the person also took other drugs like fentanyl, cocaine, or alcohol.[5]

Myth 4: Suboxone Is for Detox Only

Some people may only need to take Suboxone for a short period to combat the acute symptoms of opioid withdrawal. However, most people continue to have cravings for weeks, months, or years after discontinuing use. 

For those people, it can be helpful or even necessary to take Suboxone for a more extended time to help prevent cravings and/or relapse. Suboxone can be taken on a lifelong basis if a person feels that it’s helping them avoid relapse and stay focused on their recovery.

Myth 5: Suboxone Gets People High

It is true that, particularly for people who are opioid naïve and whose bodies are not used to opioids, Suboxone can cause a high. 

However, if taken as prescribed for OUD, people do not feel at all high or sedated. If you feel lethargic, sleepy, or otherwise high, talk to your doctor about slightly lowering the dose.

Myth 6: Anyone Can Get Suboxone

Doctors must follow strict protocols to prescribe Suboxone, including monitoring their patients carefully.[6] While Suboxone can be diverted illegally and sold, it’s uncommon. Dealers often sell much stronger drugs, such as heroin, fentanyl, and oxycodone.

In a perfect world, Suboxone would be easier to attain when people need it for legitimate purposes, such as addiction management.

Frequently Asked Questions About Suboxone High

Can You Get High on Suboxone?

Since it is a weak opioid, it is possible for opioid naive people to get high on Suboxone but not if you are taking it to manage opioid use disorder. If you take this medication exactly as prescribed, you won’t experience euphoria or feelings of pleasure—you’ll simply feel normal, without withdrawal symptoms or cravings.

Can You Get High if You’re on Suboxone?

If you are taking Suboxone for opioid use disorder, you cannot get high if you take other opioids, such as fentanyl, oxycodone, heroin, or hydrocodone. This is because the naloxone blocks opioids at the receptor sites, preventing a high.[7] On the other hand, if you take other non-opioid substances, such as benzodiazepines, cocaine, or crystal meth, you can get high while taking Suboxone. However, this is an extremely dangerous practice and can cause life-threatening consequences, including overdose.

Can You Get High Off Heroin if You’re on Suboxone?

No, because the naloxone component of Suboxone blocks other opioids, you cannot get high off heroin while taking Suboxone. If you relapse and use heroin while on Suboxone, you’ll experience precipitated withdrawal symptoms.

What Happens if You Inject Suboxone?

If you inject Suboxone, you will experience painful and unpleasant precipitated withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, sweating, and muscle and bone pain.[8]

Reviewed By Peter Manza, PhD

Peter Manza, PhD received his BA in Psychology and Biology from the University of Rochester and his PhD in Integrative Neuroscience at Stony Brook University. He is currently working as a research scientist in Washington, DC. His research focuses on the role ... Read More

  1. Suboxone Product Information. European Medicines Agency. Accessed January 2023.
  2. Suboxone: Rationale, Science, Misconceptions. The Ochsner Journal. 2018. Accessed January 2023.
  3. What Is the Treatment Need Versus the Diversion Risk for Opioid Use Disorder Treatment? National Institute on Drug Abuse. December 2021. Accessed January 2023.
  4. A Review of Buprenorphine Diversion and Misuse: The Current Evidence Base and Experiences from Around the World. Journal of Addiction Medicine. September 2015. Accessed January 2023.
  5. Opioid Overdose Deaths with Buprenorphine Detected in Postmortem Toxicology: A Retrospective Analysis. Journal of Medical Toxicology. January 2021. Accessed January 2023.
  6. FAQs About the New Buprenorphine Practice Guidelines. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. March 2022. Accessed January 2023.
  7. Naloxone drugfacts (2023) National Institutes of Health. Available at: (Accessed: 21 June 2023).
  8. Buprenorphine Quick Start Guide . Available at: (Accessed: 22 June 2023).

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