ClickCease What is Suboxone? - Granite Recovery Centers | New Hampshire

What is Suboxone?

Authored by Granite Recovery Centers    Reviewed by James Gamache    Last Updated: December 7th, 2021

James Gamache Medical Reviewer
Jim is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) and Licensed Masters Level Addictions Counselor (MLADC). He has been working in the field of mental health/addiction treatment since 1995. Jim earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services from Springfield College in 2000, and a Masters Degree in Social Work from Boston University in 2002. In 2002 Jim was hired by the Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester holding the position of Clinical Case Manager. From 2004-2019, Jim was employed at WestBridge Inc. During his time at WestBridge, Jim held the following positions; Clinician, Team Leader, Director, & Chief Operations Officer. In 2019 Jim transitioned employment to GateHouse Treatment Center as the Clinical Director for 10 months. In October of 2020 Jim transitioned to Granite Recovery Centers and is currently serving as the Senior VP of Clinical Services and Quality Assurance.

Suboxone is a drug that is designed to help people with opiate addiction. It consists of two medications, buprenorphine, and naloxone. Buprenorphine is a synthetic opiate. Naloxone is an opiate blocker.



One of the interesting suboxone facts is that even though it is designed to treat opiate addiction, buprenorphine is itself an opiate. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist.

Most opiates are a full opioid agonist, meaning they act fully on the opiate receptor. These opiates mimic the action of natural endorphins in the body, creating pain relief and a sense of calm and well-being.

Since Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, it makes you feel normal without making you feel high.


How Naloxone Works

Naloxone, also known as Narcan, blocks the activity of opiates. It is often used on its own in cases of an opiate overdose in the form of Narcan. It essentially prevents you from getting high on buprenorphine or any other opiate that you take. Opiates act on your brain’s natural reward system.

When you get high, it feels good. This causes your brain to remember this and further encourage the activity because it’s enjoyable. Your brain doesn’t distinguish between healthy things that feel good and things that are bad for you that feel good. It operates based on chemical signals.

Naloxone blocks these feel-good effects as well as the effects on the central nervous system, like slowed respiration. It prevents the opiate from binding to the opiate receptors, making the opiate ineffective.


Suboxone Facts

Suboxone is a schedule 3 drug, meaning that it has some risk of abuse or dependence. One reason for this is its ceiling effect. Once a certain level is reached, taking more suboxone has no effect. You cannot take more to experience a stronger high feeling as you can with many opiates.


Suboxone Facts of Effectiveness

Suboxone has a 60% success rate at one year vs 25% for those quitting opiates cold turkey without Suboxone and medication-assisted treatment in NH. This means that 60% of addicts treated with Suboxone were not illegally using drugs after one year, compared to just 25% of people who stopped opiates without withdrawal medication.

Physical withdrawals can be very difficult to get through. Suboxone eliminates physical withdrawals. Opiate cravings are another factor that makes addicts likely to relapse. Suboxone’s role as a partial opiate agonist helps keep opiate cravings at bay without getting you high.

Lastly, in the event of relapse, the naloxone in Suboxone will prevent you from getting high if you do relapse and use another opiate. This may allow your brain to unlearn to view opiates as rewarding because they no longer give you a pleasurable feeling when you take them.


Granite Recovery Centers

If you or someone you love is suffering from opiate addiction, contact us today at 855.712.7784 . We offer different treatment levels including detox, residential, and intensive outpatient programs in New Hampshire. Let us help you end the struggle of opiate addiction. Granite Recovery Centers provides medical detoxification for people who do not need immediate medical intervention, are not a danger to themselves, and are capable of self-evacuation in the event of an emergency.


At Granite Recovery Centers, we want to provide accurate information about health and addiction so that our readers can make informed decisions.

We have credentialed medical doctors & clinicians who specialize in addiction treatment review the information on our website before it is published. We use credible sources such as government websites and journal articles when citing statistics or other medically related topics.