Subutex (buprenorphine) is used to treat an addiction to opiates. However, Subutex itself is addictive. Its addictive ingredient is buprenorphine hydrochloride, which reduces the symptoms of dependence on opiates.
Subutex contains only buprenorphine hydrochloride, while other drugs designed for opiate dependence may contain naloxone and other ingredients intended to prevent drug abuse.
Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that can intoxicate users and inhibit critical thinking and motor skills (Fama and Sullivan, 2014). Mixing alcohol and Subutex can be extremely dangerous and should never be done, as it can be fatal to mix the two (McCabe et al., 2006). Often, people facing an addiction to either Subutex or alcohol abuse are admitted to rehab programs. Most rehab programs also treat those suffering from concurrent addictions.
Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol with Subutex
There are several signs of concurrent alcohol and Subutex abuse. Below are symptoms of alcohol and Subutex abuse.
Individuals abusing alcohol often have:
- Slurred speech.
- Blurred vision.
- Inhibited critical thinking and motor skills (Fama and Sullivan, 2014).
Alcohol intoxication only lasts several hours, but the damage done to the body over years can be severe and permanent.
Subutex has several side effects, including:
- Flu-like symptoms.
- Respiratory depression.
- Sleeping problems.
- Mood swings.
- Liver disease.
- Yellow eyes.
- Blurred vision.
- Stomach pains.
- Narrow breathing.
When mixing alcohol and Subutex, the symptoms can be severe and sometimes unpredictable based on each individual.
Combined Effects of Subutex and Alcohol Abuse
Concurrent alcohol and Subutex problems can lead to dramatic effects that require immediate medical attention. Because alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, it can have an exaggerated effect when used in conjunction with Subutex, with the alcohol potentially inhibiting the metabolism of Subutex, thereby leaving this drug active in the body for prolonged periods (Jones et al., 2012). The drug interaction between buprenorphine and alcohol is considered a major one and can lead to respiratory distress, coma and potentially death.
It is fairly common for individuals abusing both drugs to pass out. Because the combined effects of Subutex and alcohol use are so dramatic, doctors often instruct their patients not to drink at all when using Subutex. Individuals abusing the drug may not receive this warning.
Those taking Subutex or alcohol, together or separately, should not drive a vehicle or operate heavy machinery. Find out more about the harmful effects of Subutex use.
Treatment for Co-occuring Alcohol and Subutex Addiction
Those suffering from both alcohol and Subutex addictions should look for a structured rehab program with a good support system.
There are many rehab centers available in the area for those suffering from concurrent alcohol and Subutex addictions. Addicted individuals have the choice of selecting to receive treatment in an outpatient facility, which treats people daily. Or they can choose to receive treatment in an inpatient facility, where the individual can live and receive 24/7 supervision while they are treated.
Individuals suffering from both alcohol and Subutex addictions should look for a structured rehab program with a good support system. Inpatient rehab programs are often considered more structured than outpatient programs, but it is up to each individual and their doctor, to choose the preferred method of action. Most rehab programs last between 30 and 90 days, but each rehab center has their own program and specified duration.
If you or someone you love is suffering from an alcohol or a Subutex addiction, you may consider beginning your search for the best recovery program available. You can always overcome an addiction if you have the right support system and a little motivation. If you are feeling ready to start living sober, call us today at 1-888-744-0069 . We are looking forward to helping you find the right rehab program.
Statistics for Alcohol and Subutex
Use of drugs such as Subutex is becoming more common in the medical industry (Yokell et al., 2011). Subutex can be addictive as an opiate substitute, so there are risks to taking the drug. Most doctors try to slowly wean their patients off of opiates and Subutex until they can live without drugs.
There are many more readily available statistics on alcohol abuse. It is estimated that there are 88,000 alcohol-related deaths in the United States each year alone (CDC, 2016). That number is extremely high by any standard.
There are few statistics focused on concurrent alcohol and Subutex use in the United States, but there is a high prevalence of alcohol and prescription drug use, especially in teenagers and high school students (McCabe et al., 2006).
Teen Drinking and Subutex Abuse
Prescription drug misuse is rising among the population, with nearly 15% of all high school students admitting that they used prescription drugs for non-medical reasons. Almost 40% of all high school students have used alcohol at some point in the past month, with almost one fourth having engaged in binge drinking behaviors in the past month.
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- CASA The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, (2011). Adolescent Substance Use: America’s #1 Problem.
- Fama, R., and Sullivan E.V. (2014). Alcohol. In Allen, D.N., and Woods, S.P., Editors. Neuropsychological Aspects of Substance Use Disorders. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, pp. 103-133.
- Grczynski, J., et al. (2013). Patient Perspectives on Choosing Buprenorphine over Methadone in an Urban Equal Access System. Am J Addict 22(3):285-291
- Jones, J.D., et al. (2012). Polydrug Abuse: A review of opioid and benzodiazepine combination use. Drug Alcohol Depend 125(1-2):8-18.
- McCabe, S.E., et al. (2006). Simultaneous and Concurrent Polydrug Use of Alcohol and Prescription Drugs: Prevalence, Correlates, and Consequences. J Stud Alcohol 67(4):529-537.
- Yokell, M.A., et al. (2011). Buprenorphine and Buprenorphine/Naloxone Diversion, Misuse, and Illicit Use: An International Review. Curr Drug Abuse Rev 4(1):28-41
- Food and Drug Administration. (2015).Federal Register Volume 80, Number 30.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Fact Sheets – Alcohol Use and Your Health.