Opioid addiction

About opioid addiction

Opioid addiction is not a weakness, it's a disease.

Living with opioid addiction, also called Opioid Use Disorder (OUD), can leave people feeling trapped. That's because opioids "hijack" the brain and change how it normally functions and processes reward.

Knowing why quitting is so hard can help when you're ready to consider treatment. Learn how opioid addiction can be treated.

Find a SUBLOCADE treatment provider

For more information on how to find a facility, call INSUPPORT® at 1-844-467-7778.

Our brains are wired to seek reward.

When we do something we enjoy, like eating a delicious meal or having a good time with family and friends, a chemical called dopamine is released in our brains and we feel pleasure or a sense of reward.

Everyone's brain is wired to seek rewards. This is how we learn what makes us feel good, and what drives us to repeat naturally rewarding things.

Opioids change the brain

When someone takes opioids, dopamine is released. Opioids trigger a surge of dopamine, causing an increased sense of pleasure compared to “natural rewards.” The desire to either feel pleasure or avoid negative emotions becomes a powerful driver to take opioids again and again. Over time, things that were enjoyable natural rewards can’t compete with the effects of opioids.

This process impacts brain regions that oversee reward, decision-making, self-control, and learning. Together, all of these changes can make quitting seem out of a person's control.

The cycle of opioid addiction

Once the brain is hijacked, these 3 stages can keep people using opioids.


Taking opioids and feeling high, feeling relaxed, or escaping bad feelings.


Experiencing negative physical and emotional symptoms after stopping opioids.


An intense desire for opioids to experience pleasure or feel “normal.” This can become all-consuming.

Getting out of the cycle

While opioid addiction is a chronic disease, it’s possible to stop using illicit opioids and make positive changes in your life. Don’t give up.

There are medications for the physical symptoms, and counseling options to help with emotions and behaviors. Find out about treatment options.

You don't have to manage opioid addiction on your own. Treatment can help. Learn more about it and talk to a treatment provider.

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What is the most important information I should know about SUBLOCADE?

Because of the serious risk of potential harm or death from self-injecting SUBLOCADE into a vein (intravenously), it is only available through a restricted program called the SUBLOCADE REMS Program.

SUBLOCADE contains a medicine called buprenorphine. Buprenorphine is an opioid that can cause serious and life-threatening breathing problems, especially if you take or use certain other medicines or drugs.

Talk to your healthcare provider about naloxone. Naloxone is a medicine that is available to patients for the emergency treatment of an opioid overdose. If naloxone is given, you must call 911 or get emergency medical help right away to treat overdose or accidental use of an opioid.

SUBLOCADE may cause serious and life‐threatening breathing problems. Get emergency help right away if you:

Do not take certain medicines during treatment with SUBLOCADE. Taking other opioid medicines, benzodiazepines, alcohol, or other central nervous system depressants (including street drugs) while on SUBLOCADE can cause severe drowsiness, decreased awareness, breathing problems, coma, and death.

In an emergency, have family members tell emergency department staff that you are physically dependent on an opioid and are being treated with SUBLOCADE.

You may have detectable levels of SUBLOCADE in your body for a long period after stopping treatment with SUBLOCADE.

Death has been reported in those who are not opioid dependent who received buprenorphine sublingually.

Who should not take SUBLOCADE?

Do not use SUBLOCADE if you are allergic to buprenorphine or any ingredient in the prefilled syringe (Indivior's proprietary buprenorphine gel depot delivery system, a biodegradable 50:50 poly(DL-lactide-co-glycolide) polymer and a biocompatible solvent, N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP)).

Before starting SUBLOCADE, tell your healthcare provider about all of your medical conditions, including if you have:

Tell your healthcare provider if you are:

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and herbal supplements.

What should I avoid while being treated with SUBLOCADE?

What are the possible side effects of SUBLOCADE?

SUBLOCADE can cause serious side effects, including:

These are not all the possible side effects. Call your healthcare provider for medical advice about side effects.

To report a pregnancy or side effects associated with taking SUBLOCADE or any safety related information, product complaint, request for medical information, or product query, please contact PatientSafetyNA@indivior.com or 1-877-782-6966. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

See full Prescribing Information, including BOXED WARNING, and Medication Guide. For REMS information visit www.sublocadeREMS.com.