Injecting Subutex is never safe. This is an abuse of the drug, and it carries the potential for a fatal overdose.
Subutex is an opioid drug containing the partial agonist buprenorphine. It is prescribed in 2 mg or 8 mg sublingual tablets that are placed under the tongue and dissolved.
Crushing and injecting Subutex sends the medication into the bloodstream faster for a quicker and more intense high. The journal Current Drug Abuse Review publishes that injecting buprenorphine is technically the most effective way to use the drug.
When doing so, much lower doses are necessary for it to work. This also means that injection of Subutex is much riskier than other methods of ingestion, as it will work much faster and have a greater impact in significantly smaller doses.
Subutex should always be taken exactly as directed to minimize the possible side effects and risk for fatal overdose, drug dependence, and addiction.
Impact of Injecting Subutex
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves buprenorphine and Subutex as medications for treating opioid dependence. Buprenorphine is a long-acting partial opioid agonist that can help to manage cravings and opioid withdrawal symptoms during an addiction treatment program.
The fact that buprenorphine is only a partial opioid agonist means that it does not have quite the same analgesic or euphoric effects as other full agonist opioids like heroin or other prescription opioids.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) publishes that buprenorphine also has a limit to its agonist effects. After a certain amount is taken, the high levels off.
Injecting Subutex changes the way the drug is metabolized in the body and sends it across the blood-brain barrier much faster. Immediate impacts of shooting Subutex can include the following:
- Slurred speech
- Blurred vision
- Loss of muscle control and motor coordination
- Impaired reflexes
- Lowered inhibitions
- Trouble thinking clearly or making rational decisions
- Nausea and vomiting
- Irregular heart rate
- Slowed blood pressure
- Decreased respiration
A Subutex high can look similar to alcohol intoxication, and similar risk factors are possible.
Buprenorphine is an opioid drug, which means that it is a central nervous system depressant that slows down respiration, heart rate, and blood pressure.
It also has a mind-altering impact, as the activation of opioid receptors in the brain induces a higher level of the naturally occurring chemical messenger dopamine to be present. Dopamine is involved in eliciting pleasure and regulating emotions, but it is also involved in learning, memory, sleep, and movement functions as well.
Injecting Subutex increases all of the potential side effects of the drug.
Increased Risk for Overdose
The prescribing information on Subutex warns that intravenous (IV) use of buprenorphine, especially when combined with other depressant substances like alcohol, other opioids, or benzodiazepine drugs, can cause significant respiratory distress and death. Most of the reported deaths are from self-administration and injection of the drug.
Subutex is not meant to be taken this way, and injecting it can be fatal.
Subutex is also a long-acting opioid, but the euphoric and analgesic impact doesn’t last as long as the duration of action of the medication in the body. This can make it seem like the drug is no longer present and encourage a person to take more, leading to a toxic buildup and overdose.
In addition to shallow breathing and the potential for someone to stop breathing, the following are signs of a Subutex overdose:
- Pinpoint pupils
- Extreme drowsiness and even possible loss of consciousness
- Muscle weakness and loss of coordination
- Significant mental confusion
- Cold and clammy skin that may appear blue
- Low blood pressure and irregular heart rate
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publishes that close to 50,000 Americans lost their lives to an opioid overdose in 2017. More than a third of these deaths involved a prescription opioid.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reports that buprenorphine is increasing as a drug of abuse and often used as a substitute for heroin.
An overdose involving an opioid-like Subutex requires immediate medical intervention and often the administration of the opioid antagonist drug naloxone (Narcan).
Possible Counterfeit Subutex
Illicit Subutex may not even be what it is purported to be. Many illegal drug distributors are creating counterfeit prescription tablets that look like the originals but maybe cut or laced with far more potent opioids.
Counterfeit pills may contain the synthetic drug fentanyl or U-47700, both of which can be lethal in much smaller amounts than Subutex. The fake pills may contain be comprised of drugs or substances. It can be next to impossible to know how they will react in your body and at what level.
The Washington Post warns that drug distributors are using pill presses, and their products often look just like the originals.
There may be no way to tell by looking at them that these products are fake.
Fake prescription pills are appearing more and more on the market, and they are linked to many deaths as a result. These products are extremely dangerous.
Injecting a possible counterfeit product can significantly amplify the hazards for a life-threatening overdose that may be even more difficult to try and reverse.
It may take multiple doses of Narcan to overturn it.
Possible Long-Term Risks of Shooting Subutex
Injecting Subutex raises the level of drug tolerance more quickly. It will take higher doses each time to feel the same way.
Drug dependence can set in more rapidly when Subutex is injected regularly. When a person struggles with drug dependence, withdrawal symptoms may occur after Subutex wears off. These may include intense mood swings and emotional lows, cognitive difficulties, and physically significant flu-like symptoms.
The severity of opioid withdrawal symptoms and cravings can encourage a person to keep taking opioids like Subutex. The lack of ability to control Subutex use or be able to stop taking it can indicate addiction, which is a chronic disease. As published by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), over 2 million people in the United States struggled with addiction involving a prescription opioid drug in 2016. Injecting Subutex raises the level of drug tolerance and dependence more rapidly and elevates the potential for addiction.
Those who become addicted to drugs like Subutex may do whatever it takes to get more of the drug, even if it means purchasing it from the dark web or illegally from a drug dealer. One reason this is extremely dangerous is that fake Subutex is on the rise. Most drugs you purchase these days illegally contain fentanyl, which can be deadly. If you’re looking for a real Subutex pill and you can’t get it from the doctor, you should seek alternative options. Addiction is notorious for affecting every aspect of your life, and when you’ve reached a point that you can’t take Subutex, something that should help your addiction, you must seek alternative options. When purchasing the drug from the street, you might wonder if you can overdose and die from Subutex? The answer is yes.
If you’ve reached the point where you’re injecting buprenorphine, you’re not paying attention to the profound and adverse effects addiction will have on your life. When you become addicted to the point of Subutex injection, you’re one moment from death. Not only can Subutex injection weaken your immune system and damage bodily functions, but Subutex addiction can also change your personality, leading to dishonesty, depression, and emotional volatility.
Prior to Subutex, methadone was a commonly used alternative. The drug is administered similarly to Subutex and has traditionally been used to treat opioid addiction, allowing them to cope with urges and help prevent severe withdrawal. It’s also common for methadone to be used in those struggling with chronic pain, especially when other common opioids have been used unsuccessfully. When used for opioid addiction, methadone works on a specific portion of your brain and spinal cord to block the effects of opioids. However, methadone’s ability to function to block opioids is much less effective than Subutex.
However, many believe that methadone is more harmful when used in recovery than other drugs, despite proof of its effectiveness in reducing cravings for heroin, fentanyl, and other opiates. It’s a favorite among some doctors for use in replacement therapy during methadone maintenance programs. During these programs, an individual will attend a treatment facility daily and take a dose of methadone while under the supervision of nurses and physicians. It’s been extremely successful, but itF also has its faults.
Newer drugs like Zubsolv have shown some hope for opioid addiction. Although methadone and Subutex are commonly used in various treatment programs around the United States, pharmaceutical companies are looking for more effective medications that produce fewer side effects while treating addiction. Zubsolv is one of those drugs that’s much newer than methadone and Subutex and was recently approved for use in opioid addiction treatment by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Zubsolv consists of buprenorphine and naloxone, similar to Subutex, but it’s intended to be taken once daily and comes as a tablet. The primary difference between Subutex and Zubsolv is that the latter has a much-improved bioavailability, meaning the body of someone who takes Zubsolv can absorb the drug and process more of the active ingredients than they would be able to with Subutex. This means Zubsolv is more effective in smaller doses. Another Subutex alternative known as Bunavail also has an improved bioavailability.
Although Subutex is highly effective, it may not be right for you. Please speak with your doctor to determine which medication will benefit you the most on your road to recovery. Although one may not work, another can change your life.