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My girlfriend says Suboxone doesn’t get her high, yet she can't stop using. Is this common with Suboxone users?
Opiate Addiction - Freedom From Addiction
Q:

My girlfriend was an opioid addict. She tried to get clean and was for a while, but 8 months later she relapsed and started using again. She was later introduced to Suboxone. Tried that for a while and now it’s all she takes. She says she doesn’t get high from it but she can’t stop using it. Is this common for people on Suboxone?

A:

Looking down on a large group of prescription medicine bottles. The bottles all have their caps off and have a variety of drugs, tablets, and capsules. Horizontal format filling the frame. This is an important question and one that I receive variations of quite often. Suboxone is often used to limit withdrawal symptoms and decrease cravings in individuals who are addicted to opiates.

Many suggest taking Suboxone for a minimum of 6 months to decrease the chance of relapse. However, it is possible that one can become dependent on Suboxone, sometimes even requiring a medically supervised detox to stop taking it.

While Suboxone is prescribed as a maintenance medication, it is also often misused and even abused. Hopefully, your girlfriend is being prescribed Suboxone by a knowledgeable Physician and being monitored in the process. It is a hard balance because Suboxone has been shown to be effective in helping individuals struggling with opiate addiction, but taking it indefinitely in place of opiates is controversial. Over time the hope is to be able to manage cravings, process and work through underlying issues that might have led to the opiate use, to begin with.

I would recommend supporting your girlfriend if Suboxone has helped her move away from opiates, and perhaps you can begin an open dialogue about her plans for her future regarding the medication. In addition, she should also consider attending to outpatient psychotherapy to work towards understanding her addiction, herself, and processing any past trauma in order to develop healthy decision making and coping skills to continue to improve her life.

Keep in mind that a resource service like Freedom From Addiction can help her and you to stay educated during this process, while also providing a free 24/7 hotline to seek treatment if need be.

* All responses provided by a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

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