Cliffside Malibu - Hazy Beach Cliffs

Suboxone Addiction

For many people who suffered from prescription painkiller or heroin addiction, Suboxone offered a good chance at successful recovery. In fact, Suboxone was developed in a rare partnership between United States government and a British corporation specifically to treat the growing number of people addicted to opioids and unable to recover using methadone or other treatments. Unfortunately, many people fell victim to the dark side of Suboxone: The drug itself can cause the same pleasurable effects as the drug it was meant to replace, making Suboxone almost as addictive as opioids.


Since being introduced in 2002, Suboxone has surpassed well-known drugs like Viagra in annual sales, exceeding over $1.5 billion in 2012. The rapid rise in sales of the drug is due to the explosion of opioid abuse, as well as the fact that it can be prescribed by private physicians and opioid treatment clinics.

  • State Medicaid offices spent $857 million on Suboxone treatment over the three-year period ending in 2012.
  • Over 1,350 of the almost 13,000 doctors authorized to prescribe Suboxone have been sanctioned for abusive practices including overprescribing the drug and practicing medicine while impaired, a rate about ten times higher than for other doctors.
  • In 2011, over 21,000 emergency room visits were due to Suboxone abuse, a 500% increase in just five years.
  • In 2012, doctors wrote over 9 million Suboxone prescriptions.


People who are using Suboxone as prescribed to manage symptoms from an opioid addiction should not show any unusual signs or symptoms. Chronic use, or abusing the drug by snorting it or taking higher than prescribed doses, will cause the brain to develop dependence on Suboxone. Once that happens, pleasure centers in the brain can only be activated when Suboxone is taken. The person becomes unable to experience pleasure through other activities like eating, visiting friends or playing sports. Once the brain is dependent on Suboxone, the person is addicted to the drug. Signs of addiction include:

  • Slurred speech.
  • Slowed breathing.
  • Withdrawal from family and friends.
  • Excessive need for privacy.
  • Mood swings.
  • Insomnia.
  • Confusion.
  • Symptoms of withdrawal if the person does not take the drug.


Psychologically, Suboxone addiction can produce:

  • Depression
  • Impaired judgment
  • Inability to feel pleasure or happiness
  • Violent mood swings

Physically, Suboxone affects the brain in both structure and function. The most significant effect on the brain affects the structures in the brain circuitry responsible for pleasure. Chemically, the brain cannot handle the increased stimulation of the pleasure centers and compensates by shutting down receptors, causing the person to feel lifeless, miserable and depressed.

Socially, Suboxone addiction often include breakdown in family and personal relationships as the person spends more and more time and energy pursuing a high and enough Suboxone to achieve it. People also frequently perform poorly at work, or have frequent absences, which leads to job loss and financial consequences.

Other people suffering from Suboxone addiction find themselves on the wrong side of the law when they must purchase the drug illegally when their habit is no longer satisfied prescription amounts.


Many people suffering from Suboxone addiction are hesitant about seeking treatment, especially if they became addicted from taking the drug to beat an opioid addiction. They often feel hopeless and deceived. The good news is that people with Suboxone addiction can be very successful in an inpatient rehab setting like Cliffside Malibu. To safely manage Suboxone withdrawal, a medically supervised detox program at an inpatient rehab center is necessary. Medical professionals at Cliffside Malibu with comprehensive knowledge of addiction and withdrawal supervise the physical detox period and prepare the client for intense and personalized therapy. Doctors can prescribe medications to keep you comfortable during the physical withdrawal process.


Don’t wait to get help for someone struggling to overcome addiction. If you suspect you may be addicted to Suboxone, or love someone who is, call Cliffside Malibu at (424) 320-3061 to learn about treatment options. A life free of addiction is possible.


Call now to speak confidentially with an admission counselor.

(424) 320-3061