Schuman-Olivier et al. (2010) sum it up best with evidence that illicit use of suboxone decreases when opioid-dependent treatment-seekers are given legal prescriptions of suboxone. This is because, as the study proves, misuse is often times associated with self-medication to decrease other opioid withdrawal symptoms. They also stated that “the use of illicit buprenorphine rarely represents an attempt to attain euphoria” (Schuman-Olivier et al., 2010, p50)
To prevent suboxone intoxication and withdrawal in known opioid users, it is best to always seek out help in a treatment facility. As stated in our opioid detox guide, using medication to assist with opioid withdrawal symptoms should only be carried out by a professional in a facility. The entire process should be monitored by health care providers that have specific knowledge and expertise in the field of drug addiction treatment (Kleber, 2007).
Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. (2004). Clinical guidelines for the use of buprenorphine in the treatment of opioid addiction (Treatment Improvement Protocol [TIP] Series 40; DHHS Publication No. SMA 04-3939). Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Fareed, A., Stout, S., Casarella, J., Vayalapalli, S., Cox, J., & Drexler, K. (2011). Illicit opioid intoxication: diagnosis and treatment. Substance Abuse, 5, 17-25
Kleber H. D. (2007). Pharmacologic treatments for opioid dependence: detoxification and maintenance options. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 9(4), 455-70.
Mitchell, S. G., Gryczynski, J., Schwartz, R. P., O’Grady, K. E., Olsen, Y. K., & Jaffe, J. H. (2012). A randomized trial of intensive outpatient (IOP) vs. standard outpatient (OP) buprenorphine treatment for African Americans. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 128(3), 222-9.
Velander, J.R. (2018). Suboxone: rationale, science, misconceptions. Spring, 18(1): 23–29.
Schuman-Olivier, Z., Albanese, M., Nelson, S.E., Roland, L., Puopolo, F., Klinker, L., & Shaffer, H.J. (2010). Self-treatment: Illicit buprenorphine use by opioid-dependent treatment seekers. J Subst Abuse Treat, 39(1):41–50.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (2013). The DAWN Report: Emergency Department Visits Involving Buprenorphine. Rockville, MD.