What Is Buprenorphine?
Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, which means it creates the same euphoric effects as opioids, but the effects also last longer. It is sold under the brand name Subutex among others, but it is an opioid that is used to treat opioid addiction, acute pain, and even chronic pain. Buprenorphine was originally patented around 1965 and was then approved for medical use in the United States during the 1980s. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, by 2012 there were over 9.3 million prescriptions written in the United States. Besides the medical use of buprenorphine, the drug is also used recreationally because of the effects it produces. It is listed as a Schedule III controlled substance, which means it has the potential for abuse and is used for medical reasons. Buprenorphine does create physical dependence and withdrawal because it is a long-lasting opioid.
Buprenorphine can interact with other drugs that depress the central nervous system, which does increase the risk of overdose. When buprenorphine is used, you would want to avoid taking alcohol, and benzodiazepines. When you mix other drugs with buprenorphine, it does cause the effects of the buprenorphine to wear off quicker. Like any other opioids, there is a risk for overdose, especially when you first start taking buprenorphine. The risk is also high when you are mixing opioids with other drugs, or if you are using alcohol and taking buprenorphine. Buprenorphine is meant for short-term use, and the drug is less addictive than heroin and morphine. The effects of buprenorphine are mild, and the effects happen slowly, but the duration of the effects are much longer. Addiction is often defined as compulsive behavior, which is dangerous and uncontrollable. An addict will choose to use drugs despite the consequences to themselves and others.
Drugs cause a person to feel good, and whatever makes you feel good releases dopamine, and the actions are repeated. Drugs also generate cravings and become part of a cycle of using to meet those cravings. The strength and the effects of the drug do play a role in how it causes addiction because some drugs cause instant pleasurable effects. Buprenorphine does have a slow onset, with long-lasting effects, yet will still create a dependency. The longer someone remains on the drug, the more dependent they become on it. The drug is generally used to help opioid addicts and would be part of medication-assisted treatment. Despite organizations advocating for buprenorphine, it does have the potential to latch onto an addict already struggling with addiction. When you are given buprenorphine, it is often during the withdrawal phase of your opioid addiction. You should consider this a short-term solution for treating opioid addiction. If you choose to take the drug, it should be in part with treatment at a rehabilitation center. The goal should be to become completely drug and alcohol-free when you finish treatment. It is not uncommon for buprenorphine users to become dependent on the drug, and require buprenorphine detox to stop taking it. Always consult with medical professionals if you are choosing to take buprenorphine.