Subutex abuse is rising across the country. The opioid epidemic has continued to rear it’s ugly head, right here in our backyards and in our schools. Each day we pay a higher price for remaining uninformed. It ends now.

We must first become aware of the methods and motivations of opioid abuse. This will help us identify it sooner, and maybe, just maybe – we can prevent a mother from losing her child.

My story began with a little bit of research on a well-known drug forum. I truly enjoyed pharmacology  and would study for hours on end – just to know more about the substances I was putting in my body. If only I had that same motivation to go to class when I was in college. 

Instead, I sat in my room and learned how to take advantage of the system I found myself in. I was enrolled in a MAT or opioid maintenance program, while trying to finish my degree. 

This information is just a small piece of the “research” I delved into. For anyone who’s concerned their loved one may be doing the same – please read this in it’s entirety. If you’re still unsure, reach out to us and we will help you figure it out. 


So, what is Subutex?

Subutex, the generic alternative to Suboxone, is a commonly abused Opioid Maintenance drug. Subutex contains ONLY buprenorphine (the active chemical in Suboxone that acts on the opioid receptors).

Buprenorphine is a partial-opioid agonist. This means that it doesn’t not fully active mu-opioid receptors. The mu-opioid receptors are responsible for the euphoria associated with pain pill highs. Some refer to it as the heroin “rush”, and warm, fuzzy feeling in the stomach.

How is Subutex abused?

Buprenorphine can dissolve into water, however there are non-solulable fillers in the pill. Users can then inject it into the bloodstream. This is IV subutex abuse.

Spoons are the “cooker” of choice for most IV drug users.  There are a variety of opinions on the motivation of someone engaging in IV Subutex abuse.  Subutex abuse is highly dangerous, regardless of the motivation for abuse.

My personal experience – I engaged in subutex abuse because I was addicted to the IV process (and opiates too, obviously).

I was addicted to the process of shooting up, as much as I was addicted to heroin.

-former Subutex abuser – now in recovery for 3+ years.

Do NOT shoot subutex.

IV Subutex abuse can be fatal.

**Generic buprenorphine tablets contain non-dissolvable fillers that can lead to major complications and lost limbs.

Smoking Subutex on tin-foil is another ROA (route of administration). This method is common with Subutex Abuse. The user will roll up a dollar bill or use a straw, while heating the tin foil as the pill sits on top of it. They will then slide the pill across the foil, inhaling as much smoke as possible. As a result, the user will typically experience fewer withdrawal symptoms.

The goal of abusing opioid maintenance drugs is to re-live the original high. Users chase that same “rush” or high associated with their drug of choice. This is also known as “chasing the dragon”. As a result, the user is more likely to engage in harmful behaviors such as theft, lying, and manipulation.

Unfortunately, that first high is gone – forever.
A small box of syringes and paraphernalia used in opiate abuse

Signs of Subutex Abuse

After using the Subutex, a black resin-like substance will appear on the bottom of the tin foil, pop can, or spoon from the lighter used to heat the pill. This resin often stains the hands and clothing of the user smoking Subutex.

Are you concerned that your loved one is abusing Subutex?

How to spot subutex abuse.

  • Look for blood stains, burn holes, or a “soot” like substance on clothing.
  • Check bed sheets for blood, Q-tips (or their ends), burn holes, and black marks.
  • Are they dressing inappropriately for the weather – long sleeves on a hot day or maybe some new bracelets that cover the wrist/hands?
  • Check for missing make-up bags, razor cases, or small toiletry bags (these are used to carry a “kit” consisting of a needle, cooker, cottons, and a lighter).
  • There are also the tell-tale signs: lying, often asking for money (with elaborate reasoning), needing to borrow the car at odd hours, changes in social circle, hot/cold flashes, outbursts, etc.

If you find any of these telltale subutex abuse signs – do your best to remain calm – as difficult as it may be.

Call us immediately. We will guide you through the process of helping your loved one enter recovery for Subutex abuse.

What do I do?

Subutex is a long-acting opioid. It is best treated with supervised, medical detoxification and residential inpatient treatment. If your loved one is abusing Subutex or Suboxone, they may be trying to taper – but struggle to succeed.

We know it hurts. We know it feels like it will never end – but it can. We can help.

Most health insurances will cover the cost of treatment for Subutex and Suboxone abuse. We offer free insurance verification at drug & alcohol rehab programs, nationwide. We provide you with options, because you know your loved one best.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out. Addiction is a cunning and baffling enemy of life. It can swallow families whole and destroy communities. Here at Never Alone Recovery,  we’re all addicts in recovery trying to make a difference in the addiction world.

We can and will help your family.

Help me with my loved one.
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