Buprenorphine Addiction

Buprenorphine addition is growing in prevalence. This type of drug is an opiate, similar in its structure to heroin, Oxycontin, Vicodin, and morphine. When used properly, it provides pain relief to patients in a hospital setting. Unfortunately, there are numerous instances of abuse present in the United States and worldwide. Treatment options are available for buprenorphine and can be very effective. However, treatment often must come from medical providers since these highly addictive drugs are very difficult to break from on your own.

Buprenorphine is an opioid, but it can also produce typical opioid agonist effects and side effects. These effects are numerous and can range widely from euphoria to respiratory depression. This particular drug is not as symptomatic as heroin and methadone, but it is still a very dangerous drug and even low doses can be life threatening. By better understanding this type of drug and the symptoms of addiction associated with it, it is possible for individuals to find a way to resolve some of their worries and health risks associated with using it. It is essential that proper treatment be obtained.

Buprenorphine addiction treatment often includes weaning the drug off the individual over a period of time and very slowly. In doing this, the patient experiences fewer symptoms of withdrawal, which is what ultimately makes it common for individuals to remain free of the drug over the long term. Psychological and physical dependency needs to be addressed by anyone experiencing addiction to this drug.

Buprenorphine Statistics

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about one million people in the US alone are addicted to heroin and similar drugs and more than three million have used these drugs. Some users are just teenagers. Overall, 1.4 million people are dependent on opiate drugs in an abusive manner. Buprenorphine treatment is available to help these and other individuals to break free from this very damaging and painful drug abuse.

While buprenorphine is an abused drug, it is also a drug used to help patients to come off of abuse of other opiates, including heroin addiction. The medication, also sold as Suboxone, is often given to patients who are struggling with withdrawal symptoms. Nevertheless, there is substantial abuse of this drug present in the US today. According to a report issued by the University of California San Francisco, some alarming statistics are evident, including that 90 percent of the people who are taking and abusing this medication are purchasing it off the street. They are taking it specifically to reduce the symptoms of withdrawal from other drugs.

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Another statistic shared in the same report originally from the Baltimore Sun indicates that 14 percent of prescription opioid abusers state that buprenorphine is their preferred opioid of abuse. Other shocking statistics indicate that:

  • 34 percent of people find it easier to get buprenorphine than to get Oxycontin or methadone on the street
  • 41 percent of doctors believe that the use of buprenorphine comes from the individuals’ need to self medicate through withdrawal of other drugs while only 7 percent report the reason of use is to get high.

With these are shocking statistics, it is important for individuals to understand this drug more fully and to know how to break this cycle of abuse.

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Symptoms of Buprenorphine Addiction

The symptoms of addiction abuse from buprenorphine can range from severe to mild. The following signs of use are common indications that the use is long-term and abusive.

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Pain in the muscles, including intense cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Fevers
  • Slurred speech
  • Depression
  • Small pupils
  • Poor memory

When buprenorphine addiction use is long term, it is common for additional symptoms to occur, including the inability to manage emotions, a loss of interest in sexual relations, difficulty or inability to manage stress, and hair loss.

Psychological, Social & Physical Effects

There are many potential effects from abuse of buprenorphine, including those that affect a person’s self esteem and ability to function in daily life. Because of the neurological effects, this drug can make it difficult for people to sleep and it often causes nausea. Because it also blocks the way a person feels, it has a wide range of psychological effects, including the inability to express and feel emotions properly. This often leads to turmoil in personal relationships, including strained marriages. It’s also important to realize that ingestion can pass from mother to child, especially during pregnancy and breastfeeding. In a child, these drugs can cause developmental delays.


Although many people use buprenorphine as a treatment for other addictions, it is possible to become very significantly addicted to this drug. And, when buprenorphine addiction becomes a problem, treatment options can be very difficult. The US Department of Health and Human Services offers some insight into how buprenorphine addiction treatment of this addiction should occur.

Generally, individuals must be monitored medically and given therapy with low doses of this drug for a period of 12 to 24 hours. Once the patient is stabilized, the treatment will include gradually tapering the dosing of this drug until it is not present in the system. Additionally, other medications and therapies are necessary to help patients to not only break the physical addiction to this drug, but also to improve his or her symptoms of psychological addiction.

From the initial induction phase through the maintenance phase of any opiate abuse treatment, the goal is to help the patient with emotional, psychological, and behavioral issues as well as those physical symptoms of withdrawal. Withdrawal from this medication is not as severe as other opiates, but is, nonetheless, worrisome and difficult.

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Getting Help

Getting help for buprenorphine addiction is a possibility. The best possible step for addicted patients and their families to take is to call Cliffside Malibu today. It will provide an opportunity for you to learn about your options, treatments, and opportunities to regaining the quality of life you want and deserve. Addiction help is readily available to people with all stages and severities of this addiction.


Call now to speak confidentially with an admission counselor.

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