Suboxone is a prescription narcotic medication that is used to help recovering addicts with the symptoms of withdrawal from opiates. Many drug rehabs will use Suboxone as a form of detox and then wean the patient from the Suboxone so they are completely drug-free. However, there are rehabs and practitioners who believe in maintenance use of Suboxone over the longer term. There is controversy surround the latter practice, as some treatment providers and addiction specialists believe this approach simply switches one addiction for another. This controversy is similar to that around the long-term use of methadone among heroin addicts.
The primary active ingredient in Suboxone is buprenorphine, a partial opioid agonist. This means that its opioid effects are limited compared with those produced by full opioid agonists such as Vicodin, OxyContin, oxycodone and hydrocodone. Suboxone also contains naloxone, an opioid antagonist, added to discourage users from dissolving the pill and injecting it.