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Suboxone is a prescription medication that helps patients who are struggling with opioid addiction. It contains two main active ingredients: buprenorphine and naloxone. Understanding what it is and how it works is one of the best ways to make sure it is used properly. So the more we know about drugs and their effects, the less likely we are to get addicted.
So today we are going to answer one of the most common questions regarding suboxone: is it a narcotic? Let’s take a closer look.
Suboxone: What is it for?
The two main chemicals within suboxone can help people get over their opioid addiction—through gradual medical detox, of course.
Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, meaning it binds to the same receptors that opioids attach to. This means if you take buprenorphine, your brain is going to think you’ve already taken an opioid. But buprenorphine is much less potent compared to your standard opioids, so the risk of getting addicted is much lower.
On the other hand, we have naloxone. This is a substance added to buprenorphine to discourage abuse. If a person tries to misuse buprenorphine by tampering with it or injecting it directly into their bloodstream, naloxone will cause withdrawal effects. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist, reducing the chances of someone abusing the drug.
The resulting substance is a combination drug, suboxone, which can help patients get sober again—granted that they take the drug properly.
Is It a Narcotic?
To answer this, we have to know what a narcotic is. In law enforcement, a narcotic is any controlled substance, any illegal drug, or any drug with a high potential for abuse. It doesn’t matter what type of drug it is. We can say that suboxone is a narcotic, considering it is only available via prescription from a licensed physician.
It is not an illegal drug, but you’re still not supposed to take it recreationally. Some drug users will take suboxone to get high. While the risk of addiction is low, it is still possible to get addicted to suboxone.
The medical industry has a more specific definition of the term narcotic. In fact, the word “narcotic” is only another term for opiates and opioids. Both types of drugs are derived from the opium poppy plant. Opiates are the natural derivatives; opioids are the synthetic and semi-synthetic versions.
Opiates and opioids are prescribed for moderate to severe pain, including traumatic pain, cancer pain, and post-surgical pain. Unfortunately, some people abuse them, hence the need for medications like suboxone.
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Only buprenorphine is classified as a narcotic, because it is an opioid. So we can say that narcotic is a term with different meanings based on the context. But suboxone can be considered a narcotic in both contexts because it contains an opioid. In fact, it is addictive when taken in large enough doses.
It’s ironic how the medications that help fight against addiction can be abused as well. But there’s still hope. An addicted individual can still recover with the help of medical detox and behavioral therapy. When done right, a narcotic user can go back to living a sober life. Visit a city drug rehab or addiction treatment center near you today!