Suboxone is a trade name for buprenorphine. It was developed years ago as a pain reliever. It was later used in Europe as a substance to help people with opiate addiction ( hydrocodone, oxymorphone, heroin, opium and many others with their trade names such as Vicodin). Buprenorphine was approved in the United States in 2002 for opiate addiction treatment.
All opiates attach to “opiate receptors” in the brain. This helps relieve pain, relax people and for some people it energizes them. Other people will feel drowsy. For some an opiate will make them feel a sense of wellbeing and euphoria.
The trouble with many users is that they feel a need to increase their dose ( this is from the body becomming tolerant to the drug), they cannot get the drug as it is illegal except through a legitimate prescription from a doctor and for many health and financial problems will start occurring. The main physical problem with heavy use is liver problems that can be lethal.
The beauty of buprenorphine is that it does not hit all of your opiate receptors but just enough of them so that you do not crave opiates and you do not have withdrawal symptoms after the first 24 hours.
Other benefits are that you can get it from an office based doctor instead of having to go to a Methadone clinic. Methadone is the only other substance that can replace an opiate.
Now both methadone and buprenorphine are opiates and you will become addicted but they are stabilizing medications.
Ref: What is Suboxone?: http://buprenorphine.samhsa.gov/about.html