Subutex and Suboxone are two substances that are commonly used to help people who are struggling with opioid dependence and addiction. The two have similarities, and also differences.

A common question people have is whether or not a Subutex high is possible and if so, what are the differences in a Subutex vs. Suboxone high.

Article at a Glance:  

  • Subutex treats opiate addiction and contains the active ingredient of buprenorphine.  
  • A Subutex high is possible but not likely or in the same way as a typical opioid high.  
  • Subutex may offer a pleasant feeling but is far milder than an opioid euphoria.  
  • There is no chance of a high with Suboxone because its misuse would result in immediate opioid withdrawal.  
  • Both Subutex and Suboxone are generally safe opioid addiction treatments. 

What is Subutex?

First, what is Subutex?

Subutex, which was approved in 2002, is a drug okayed by the FDA to help treat opiate addiction.

The active ingredient in Subutex is something called buprenorphine, which can be prescribed by doctors who are trained in its use and certified by the Center For Substance Abuse Treatment. This is in comparison to other opioid treatment drugs like methadone, which have to be dispensed only in a controlled, clinical environment.

Methadone is also a Schedule II controlled substance in the U.S., meaning it has a potential for abuse, while Subutex is Schedule III, meaning it has a pretty low abuse potential associated with its use.

Subutex is a relatively safe opioid dependence treatment option, and it’s classified as a partial opioid agonist. This means it binds to the same receptors as opioid drugs like prescription painkillers, but it doesn’t cause the euphoric high associated with these drugs.

There is some level of activity at the opioid receptor sites, so this tricks the person’s brain into thinking they’ve taken opioids, which prevents withdrawal symptoms and reduces cravings.

The objectives of Subutex are to help people be more comfortable as they detox from opioids, upping their chances of success, and it can also help reduce the likelihood of a relapse. With the use of Subutex, people can also focus more on their treatment and less on the symptoms of withdrawal and opioid cravings.

So, is a Subutex high possible?

That will be discussed below, after a quick overview of a similar drug, which is Suboxone.

What is Suboxone?

Suboxone is a prescription medication that contains the active ingredient buprenorphine, but also naloxone. Since it contains buprenorphine, Suboxone is also a partial opioid agonist, but with the addition of naloxone, Suboxone can actually deter the abuse of opioids.

Naloxone is an opioid agonist, meaning if someone takes it and then takes opioids, or if the Suboxone is taken in any way other than what’s prescribed and directed, it can increase opioid withdrawal syndrome.

Subutex High

A Subutex high is theoretically possible, although not likely at least not in the sense associated with a typical opioid high.

When someone takes Subutex, because of the activity at the opioid receptor sites, it may create positive feelings or a sense of well-being, but it wouldn’t necessarily be described as a euphoric high.

If someone uses Subutex in a way other than how it’s intended, for example by dissolving and injecting it, they may feel high, but again, it’s not necessarily the same high that’s associated with the use of oxycodone, as an example.

Any pleasant feeling associated with the use of Subutex is going to be much milder than with an opioid euphoria, although more of this may be felt in people who don’t already have an opioid tolerance.

Something else that should be noted when it comes to a Subutex high is the fact that there is a ceiling effect associated with this drug. This means that once a certain dose is taken, going beyond that isn’t going to change or heighten the effects.

Overall, when taken as directed Subutex has a low potential for abuse, there is little risk of a Subutex high, and it’s considered generally safe.

When it becomes risky, however, is when someone mixes Subutex with another central nervous system depressant to heighten the effects. CNS depressants include opioids, alcohol, and benzodiazepines. This can lead to a dangerous level of respiratory depression.

Subutex vs. Suboxone High

So how do a Subutex vs. Suboxone high compare to one another? First and foremost, as has been touched on, a high isn’t really possible with either, although the use of these opioid treatment medications may create some sense of well-being.

However, there is a difference when looking at Subutex vs. Suboxone high potential. With Subutex, there is a more likely chance to experience something similar to a high if you take the medicine in a way other than what’s prescribed, for example, if you dissolve it and inject it.

With Suboxone, there is no chance of a high, because as mentioned, if you tried to use it other than how it’s intended you would go into immediate opioid withdrawal.

Both Subutex and Suboxone are considered relatively safe opioid addiction and dependence treatment options. They are designed to allow people to focus on their recovery, and they’re best used in during a comprehensive treatment program. There’s a low risk of abusing them or getting high, as opposed to older opioid treatment medications like methadone.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.