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Injecting Suboxone: The Dangers of Shooting Suboxone

Peter Manza, PhD profile image
Reviewed By Peter Manza, PhD • Updated Sep 18, 2023 • 6 cited sources

Injecting (or shooting) Suboxone can lead to unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, infections, blood clots and vein damage. The method also doesn’t produce the high people are looking for. 

Suboxone contains buprenorphine (which stops working at high doses) and naloxone (which blocks high doses of buprenorphine). Shooting the drug is more likely to make you feel sick from precipitated withdrawal than high. 

If you’re tempted to inject or misuse your Suboxone, talk to your doctor. You may need additional help for your opioid use disorder (OUD).

Can You Inject Suboxone?

It’s technically possible to inject Suboxone. The medication comes in a dissolving strip or tablet. Some people apply Suboxone to liquid, wait for it to dissolve, and inject the fluid. 

Shooting Suboxone is never smart. The drug isn’t designed to enter your body through your veins. Never try this method.

side effects of shooting suboxone

Can You Get High From Injecting Suboxone? 

People who have never used any kind of opioid or OUD medication may achieve a mild high when misusing Suboxone. But it’s very rare for anyone who has previously used any kind of opioid to get a substantial high from injecting Suboxone. 

In one study, people who injected Suboxone said they felt “nothing,” including no euphoria, from the practice.[1] In a second study, people said they had a low “desire to take the drug again” after injecting dissolved Suboxone.[2]

Suboxone won’t get you high due to the naloxone component. This opioid antagonist reverses the effects of opioids. If a person injects Suboxone, both the buprenorphine and the naloxone enter the bloodstream. The naloxone “overrules” the buprenorphine, preventing the person from getting high and also preventing an accidental overdose.

What Are the Side Effects of Shooting Suboxone?

Problems associated with injecting Suboxone are serious. Some can be life-threatening. 

Precipitated Withdrawal 

If you inject Suboxone, you will experience precipitated withdrawal, characterized by the following symptoms: [3]

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Flu-like discomfort

In one study, almost 70% of people tried injecting Suboxone, and 80% of those who did had a bad experience.[4] 


Suboxone should dissolve beneath the tongue and not enter your body through the bloodstream. Injecting the drug can lead to the following complications:[4]

  • Abscesses
  • Soft tissue infections
  • Endocarditis
  • Sepsis
  • HIB infection
  • Hepatitis C infection


Researchers say buprenorphine products are six times safer than methadone products in terms of overdose risk.[5] But combining Suboxone with medications like benzodiazepines can lead to extreme sedation and overdose.[4]

Symptoms include the following: [3]

  • Extreme sleepiness, drowsiness or grogginess
  • Dizziness and falling over
  • Blurry vision that does not improve
  • Trouble breathing or lack of breathing
  • Shallow or slowed breathing
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Becoming unresponsive after passing out


If your opioid use disorder was previously controlled on Suboxone, injecting the medication indicates you’re not fully in control. It could also lead to problematic opioid use.

Speak with your treatment provider immediately if you’re feeling compelled to inject Suboxone. There’s a chance you may need to return to a treatment program or receive additional support right now.

Is There an Injectable Version of Suboxone?

The prescription medication Sublocade is very similar to Suboxone. It’s an injectable medication designed for OUD.

Sublocade doesn’t contain naloxone, so it’s not the same as Suboxone. But some people benefit from treatment consisting of only buprenorphine. 

Sublocade is very hard to misuse, as the drug is administered by doctors in appointments. You aren’t given the drug to take home. Instead, you must go to the doctor to get it. Since no take-home versions are available, it’s very difficult to misuse this drug.

What Are the Benefits of Using Suboxone Properly?

Suboxone is a very effective and safe treatment for opioid use disorder when taken as prescribed. There are several benefits of Suboxone that far outweigh the risks that come from injecting the drug. 

Since buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, this medication does not cause the potent high that opioids do. Instead, buprenorphine binds to opioid receptors in the brain for a full day or more, reducing withdrawal symptoms, including anxiety, intense cravings and physical discomfort.

By suppressing withdrawal symptoms and cravings, the individual taking Suboxone can focus on recovery. Often, Suboxone is taken indefinitely since it is so effective at promoting long-term recovery.

Using medications like Suboxone could help you to do the following:[6]

  • Reduce your risk of an early death
  • Improve your social functioning
  • Reduce your risk of criminal activity 
  • Lower your risk of using other drugs
  • Limit your HIV and hepatitis exposure risks

Treatment for Suboxone Misuse 

The majority of people who misuse Suboxone do so to treat an underlying opioid use disorder (OUD).[4] If you’ve been buying Suboxone from dealers and injecting it, there is a better and much safer way forward.

Talk to your doctor about your opioid misuse history, and ask about entering a treatment program or using Suboxone.

If you have a Suboxone prescription and you’ve misused it, talk to your doctor. You may need a stronger dose of medications to keep your OUD under control, or you may need a different recovery setting. 

The more open and honest you can be with your provider, the more likely you are to safely and appropriately use your medications to get the desired results and maintain long-term abstinence.

Is Suboxone Treatment Right for You?

Suboxone is a prescription medication proven to help people overcome OUD. If you’re injecting drugs, or considering doing so, it’s time to consider treatment. With help, you could stop withdrawal symptoms and cravings, allowing you to build a healthier life in sobriety. 

Bicycle Health offers online treatment options for people just like you. Find out how our process works and see if it’s right for you.

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. A Retrospective Evaluation of Patients Switched from Buprenorphine (Subutex) to the Buprenorphine/Naloxone Combination (Suboxone). Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy June 2008. Accessed June 2023.
  2. Abuse Liability of Intravenous Buprenorphine/Naloxone and Buprenorphine Alone in Buprenorphine-Maintained Intravenous Heroin Abusers. Addiction November 2022. Accessed June 2023.
  3. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.).
  4. Buprenorphine and Buprenorphine/Naloxone Diversion, Misuse, and Illicit Use: An International Review. Current Drug Abuse Reviews March 2011. Accessed June 2023.
  5. The Relative Risk of Fatal Poisoning by Methadone or Buprenorphine Within the Wider Population of England and Wales. BMJ. May 2015. Accessed June 2023.
  6. Buprenorphine: An Overview for Clinicians. California Health Care Foundation. August 2019. Accessed June 2023.
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