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Can Teens Use Suboxone?


suboxone tablets in a box

Opioids are narcotics, and legal opioid medications are used in the medical profession as a means to treat severe pain. The way opioid drugs work is by attaching to the natural opioid receptors in one’s body. Opioids adjust the amount of information surrounding pain that is relayed to various areas of one’s body. Therefore, reducing the amount of pain an individual may experience. Opioids have incredibly high addictive qualities, and even when used under the care of a medical professional, can lead to dependence.

Suboxone is the brand-name drug that is comprised of buprenorphine (another opioid) and naloxone. It is an FDA approved medication specifically designed to treat individuals sixteen years old and older struggling with opioid dependence. Suboxone is classified as a Schedule III controlled substance, which according to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are defined as “drugs, substances, or chemicals with a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence.” When used properly and under the direct supervision of a medical professional Suboxone can be extremely helpful to an individual’s recovery process, as it helps to reduce active drug cravings and alleviates some of the adverse symptoms of opiate withdrawal. 

How It Works

Suboxone is an opioid partial agonist. Akin to all opioid substances, it works by attaching to the opioid receptors in one’s brain. A person that has habitually abused opioids will become tolerant to the abused substance. This means that an individual will require more opioids to produce the same effects. When a brain that has become accustomed to a certain amount of opioids present has an insufficient amount, it will react accordingly and withdrawal symptoms will ensue. This cycle will perpetuate, as the brain will then crave the opioid. When Suboxone is used, it blocks the full agonist (abused opioid substance) by attaching to the opioid receptor, expelling any existing opioids, and prohibiting any others from attaching. Due to the fact that Suboxone is a partial opioid agonist, it produces minimal opioid effects enabling it to significantly reduce the adverse withdrawal symptoms, but not enough to produce any feelings of euphoria. 

Side Effects

As is true with any medication, there are a number of side effects that can develop when taking Suboxone. provides the following list of potential side effects that can occur when taking the medication:

  • Muscle aches
  • Fever
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Blurred vision
  • Palpitations
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting

Some of the severe side effects of Suboxone can include: overdose, adrenal insufficiency, respiratory distress, dependence, and/ or pain at the injection site. For teenagers sixteen years old and older, it is imperative discuss any lingering effects with one’s prescribing medical professional. 

For Information and Support

Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know is in need of mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person for the long term. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.

Our admissions team is available to answer any general questions regarding mental health issues, treatment, and/or specific questions about the program at Pacific Teen Treatment and how we might be able to help your family. We can be reached by phone 24/7 at 800-531-5769. You can also contact us via email at

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